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And nothing of value was lost
April 15, 2011 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Founded in 2004 as a place to catalog LiveJournal drama rejected from Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica rapidly became the premier site on the web for all manner of lulz. Intended "in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary," ED grew into a sprawling crowdsourced compendium of memes, subcultures, communities, personalities, and the endless feuds and controversies spawned by 4chan and other anonymous imageboards. While comprehensive, the site developed a reputation for nastiness -- full of "ironic" (?) racism, gratuitous porn, organized attacks on other sites, and disturbingly thorough dossiers on perceived enemies, all dripping with vicious snark (just check out their entry on MetaFilter). But now, after more than six years, it appears the troll has become the trolled. Founder Sherrod "Girlvinyl" DeGrippo, allegedly disillusioned by the site's legal woes and nihilistic trajectory, has permanently shuttered the site and replaced it with OhInternet, a slicker, cleaner, Web 2.0 effort modeled after more respectable internet guides like Know Your Meme (which recently sold to Cheezburger Networks for a cool $N million, discussed here). Backups and mirrors abound, but as for the source? Pool's closed... forever.
posted by Rhaomi (85 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh dear. ED, 4chan, Anonymous, and Cheezburger all in one post.

These are powerful forces you're dealing with. Powerful indeed.

Tread lightly.
posted by schmod at 3:30 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good fucking riddance.
posted by dersins at 3:34 PM on April 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Or HWBT?
posted by dersins at 3:35 PM on April 15, 2011


.
posted by Stynxno at 3:35 PM on April 15, 2011


And nothing of value was lost

Truer words were never spoken.
posted by The Thnikkaman at 3:36 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


They were famous and beautiful and now they're dead.
posted by jtron at 3:37 PM on April 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Long live the new flesh!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


BAH! ED, or whatever you call yourself now. You just lost over 9000 internets.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:44 PM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good lord, now that this has been posted on Metafilter, it will only be a short while before my mom learns of this. She'll be crushed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:44 PM on April 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I for one will miss the ejaculations of contempt, homophobia, misogyny, antisemitism, general abusiveness, bullying, entry level trolling, and links to internet shock sites that passed for comedy on this site. Because where else are you going to find such wit? It just doesn't exist anywhere else on the web!
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:47 PM on April 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


Who now will torment an autistic thirty-year-old from Virginia about his Sonic fanfiction?
posted by Countess Elena at 3:48 PM on April 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I think this is a good moment to point out that, contrary to popular belief, sometimes the internet forgets. There will always be more "consequences will never be the same" and lulz will be had and the internet moves on. No one will bother to catalog these things in perpetuity because they truly have no value.

The server space will be reused or simply turned off some day and no one will care or notice. Tomorrow will bring more. We used to think that 'The Internet Never Forgets' because we hadn't realized these things do have a lifespan and the crush of new things hadn't reached the point where the old things went away. But there will come a day where no one will make a 'hide your wife, hide your kids' reference and no one will notice. Usenet has almost completely evaporated and not a fuck is given.

It's the eternal September and always Friday on the internet.
posted by unixrat at 3:50 PM on April 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


The server at ohinternet.com is taking too long to respond.
posted by everichon at 3:51 PM on April 15, 2011


It's not just you! http://ohinternet.com looks down from here.

That went well.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:52 PM on April 15, 2011


Oh...internet. You're a caution.
posted by everichon at 3:53 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goddamnit. Now there will be no check to the unlimited growth of my ego. At least the TVtropes page for my web novel is still up.
posted by localroger at 3:55 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


unixrat: The server space will be reused or simply turned off some day and no one will care or notice. Tomorrow will bring more.

People will notice (see: the OP), but it will be forgotten in whatever tomorrow brings, remembering only when you stumble on a link to the now-gone site (see also: GeoCities). That's the tricky thing about the internet - the data might disappear, but there are probably links back to what was there, reminding you every now and again that you lost something, but you can't call up what is gone (also see: old MetaFilter posts).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:56 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, I miss the principled days of Portal Of Evil. Prime Directive folks, point and laugh, but don't let them see you. Nowadays I feel like everyone is all "ooooh here's a weird thing on the internet, let's troll it until it isn't around to amuse us anymore."
posted by fuq at 3:58 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't like reading the word 'lulz,' and if the behavior of today's youth is any indication, then someone will say it out loud within earshot of me and I'll have to fuck them up.
posted by jonmc at 3:58 PM on April 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I kind of liked Encyclopedia Dramatica.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:59 PM on April 15, 2011 [27 favorites]


>iamokwiththis.jpg
posted by lekvar at 4:00 PM on April 15, 2011


Incidentally I once went on a date (from online of course) with a guy who turned out later to have his own ED page about how creepy he was. Our date, however, was quite undramatic. He was polite and all. I thought it was a bit off, but I just wrote it down to a mismatch. Now I won't be able to explain how hilariously lucky I was in one reference.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:01 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It did have its uses. I had no idea how far down the Internet could go until reading some of the entries on Encyclopedia Dramatica. Rule 34 indeed.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:01 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Truth be told, if it weren't for mefi, I never would have heard of 4Chan, FARK et al...Ironic, isn't it?
posted by jonmc at 4:02 PM on April 15, 2011


Often I would have liked to browse ED, but didn't because I wasn't sure that all the porn was legal. So for me, this is kinda good.
posted by orthogonality at 4:07 PM on April 15, 2011


I'm with this guy.
posted by bayani at 4:11 PM on April 15, 2011


ED was useful as a place to go to give your security a stress test. Realtime AV and adware filter and HIDS and firewall and noscript and running in a sandbox and the rest--if you could pass through ED and come out on the good side of obviously infected, you might ("Mind you, I said 'might'") be ready for the .ru domain.

Also, who will catalog LiveJournal drama now? Will we have to use the territory as its own map?
posted by jfuller at 4:12 PM on April 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


OhInternet: Your Source for Canv.as Memes
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:12 PM on April 15, 2011


Reading it for a few minutes is kind of fun, until you realize that the people they're talking about actually exist, and then it gets weird.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:13 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Venture Capitalists don't get that the Internet is mercurial and ephemeral; neither do the misanthropes who think they're into some center-of-it-all, cutting-edge, underground shit. Read: "lulz", gore, CP, trolling, and other awful, senseless grist for the depressed, repressed, and undressed.

Looks like "Girlvinyl" had two choices: take the red pill and go further down the rabbit-hole of douchebaggery, or take the blue and finally end his ED.
posted by defenestration at 4:15 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


just check out their entry on MetaFilter

By ED standards, that's actually pretty lame. Which is either a backhanded compliment, or just.... lame.
posted by msalt at 4:19 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Metafilter entry was mostly stupid, but their imitation of an AskMe thread was really funny:

Dear Metafilter,
I am a 20 year old lesbian who has just moved to a new town, and I'm too
young for the bar scene. How should I meet other gay women?
-anonymous

Dear anonymous,
Sometimes relationships can go seriously wrong. What if the other woman is not really gay? You definitely need to lawyer up.
-ParisianSnowflake

Dear anonymous,
I'm a straight guy, but I'm sure I can answer your question. You see, blah
blah blah friendzone blah blah ladder theory blah blah George Sodini was right blah blah blah.
-AwsumDood39...

posted by Forktine at 4:20 PM on April 15, 2011 [35 favorites]


One less goiter in the Intertubes today.
posted by Twang at 4:22 PM on April 15, 2011


I loved about ED the way that it was almost a world unto itself. Most of the entries were written in their own Netspeak Dialect, and often the terms used were hyperlinked to hilarious or ironic ends (such as time periods being either Last Thursday or Over 100 Years Ago, or say "reading material" linking to the article on cp). Hard to explain, but delightful to the brain in terms of things being defined in the most hilarious of ways.

R.I.P.
posted by Eideteker at 4:25 PM on April 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, who will catalog LiveJournal drama now? Will we have to use the territory as its own map?

Fandom_wank, otf_wank, and other affiliated comms on Journalfen. Plus the not officially affiliated unfunnybusiness.

And there's the wiki too.

Now, the JF comms are obviously very different from ED, and thank god for that.
posted by kmz at 4:29 PM on April 15, 2011


That metafilter page is pure gold! Why was I not informed sooner of its existence?
posted by telstar at 4:32 PM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


bayani: I'm with this guy.

Where?

bayani: There.

What, behind the cat?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:33 PM on April 15, 2011


Hey, do you remember those links they'd have towards the bottom of their articles, that would say, "If you're offended by this, click here."

Did anyone else ever click there? Because I clicked there once. If you did, too, did you then scroll down? Because I then scrolled down, out of abject horror, and I guess to see how deep the rabbit hole to hell really was.

Long before I hit the bottom of the page, though, I just couldn't take it anymore. And by that time, yes: I had completely forgotten what had offended me in the first place, but it seemed like kittens in comparison.

I feel like there's probably some horrible business management lesson in there somewhere.
posted by zylocomotion at 4:36 PM on April 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


.
posted by Phssthpok at 4:43 PM on April 15, 2011


Oh my God you guys are so amazing.
posted by phaedon at 4:48 PM on April 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have a bit of nostalgia when it comes to internet dramaz, so I always say "I liked ED back when it was LJDrama" in the style of that aging hipster dude at a show. Though I do think it's amusing to see the evolution of GirlVinyl and crew's documentation of the lulz. Even moot is trying to make good nowadays with Canvas, so I guess it's just folks growing up/figuring out how to make money with what they already know how to do.
posted by kkokkodalk at 5:03 PM on April 15, 2011


I've got to admit, I quite liked the term "bonsai tree of failure" on the MeFi page there. I think I'll use it more often.
posted by solarion at 5:07 PM on April 15, 2011


Seems like it was kind of a prick move to shut down a site that was built on the contributions of users. Maybe a better move would have been to hand it over to someone else to run, and then start her new project. The downside would have been that she'd have had to compete with her old site; the upside would be that she wouldn't have the entire ED userbase trying to burn her new project down.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:08 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


ED is an hero
posted by tyllwin at 5:16 PM on April 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


ED had the best archive of creepypasta.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.
posted by nathan v at 5:28 PM on April 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


Alas, Babylon.
posted by The Whelk at 5:30 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


.

This really sucks. I never had the balls to go to 4Chan and ED was a way to scratch that itch. Their snarky take on websites revealed something about their characters and their takedowns of random Internet personalities were fun.
They were like the opposite of TVTropes. Both good ways to kill time but TVTropes is so inclusive it almost ends up just as creepy.
UnCyclopedia isn't a replacement since it's mostly PurpleMonkeyDishwasher.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:36 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Apparently the founder has family in Australia but can't travel here anymore because he's afraid of being arrested for violating the Racial Discrimination Act.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:44 PM on April 15, 2011


"take the blue and finally end his ED"

heh
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:28 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Due to her efforts, the library is empty of everything except Gor novels.

You go girl! GOR GOR GOR!!!1
posted by Meatbomb at 6:28 PM on April 15, 2011


This is bullshit.
posted by Snyder at 6:36 PM on April 15, 2011


Encyclopedia Dramatica was important and volatile for the same reason. I'm not surprised it's gone, but I would rather it was still around. It may have been terrifying and strange, but the truth is it's a cultural document and will remain so.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:44 PM on April 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Another idea from the LJDrama crew gone, like FriendDitto and NarcoPolo before it.
posted by subbes at 7:10 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


4chan doesn't bother me, but the fact that ED was long-form just made it unfunny. Crass humor needs to be short and to the point.

I don't like reading the word 'lulz,' and if the behavior of today's youth is any indication, then someone will say it out loud within earshot of me and I'll have to fuck them up.

One day I will totally do that to you for the lulz.

One day...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:18 PM on April 15, 2011


Well great. There go all my citation links (well, just one, actually) for the paper I wrote about Anon and WikiLeaks.

Writing that makes me realize how weird and awesome (?) it is to be a library science student in this day and age.
posted by wowbobwow at 8:17 PM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll always remember the attention whore page.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:26 PM on April 15, 2011


Also, who will catalog LiveJournal drama now?

Given the decline of livejournal, there's a limit to how much drama is still there to be catalogued. I say that like it's a laugh line, but there is also a serious side to the answer. There's been a real change in the last few years, with a big turning point coming around the time of the RaceFail drama in early 2009. Now instead of wanking about sockpuppets and sabotaging fandom reputations, the drama is all about racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other serious subjects. Fewer and fewer blowups seem to be ending up on fandom_wank and more and more seem to be ending up on the unfunny communities.

There were times when I enjoyed (with, as I look back at it, a certain amount of resignation at my own flaws over the enjoyment) reading ED, but I'm not surprised it's gone. The internet is srs bzns now; ED's time has passed.
posted by immlass at 8:48 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like Encyclopedia Dramatica was, at its best, a great place for discovering what 4chan's opinion of something was. It's a much better reference format, as 4chan is ephemeral in nature, just keeping the most recent topics around, and quickly deleting threads that either never got interest or that people lost interest in. Consider that this is the source of a huge percentage of the memes on the internet, and that it's hard to understand the circumstances or joke behind those memes without context.

That said, I'm not defending that cesspool. Even though most of the offensive things were done out of irony and a trollish duty to mess with the reader (see: the shock images), they seemed to have an arms race between editors to see who could be the most offensive, which took it past funny to just plain depressing. There was humor underneath it all, and sometimes it was surprisingly good. But more than not it ended up being filled with jokes that were really there more to shock, upset or otherwise depress the reader, and on top of that, they were often formulaic, so you couldn't even argue that it was sick-yet-creative humor.

I find that Reddit, particularly /r/Pics, /r/FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU, and /r/AdviceAnimals, is a much better filter of the best of 4chan. ED was probably more complete, and Know Your Meme may be better organized, but Reddit's good at delivering the best parts of the best memes in a format that preserves most of their original humor. I think I'll mostly miss the copypasta from ED, although truthfully, I can probably live a fulfilling and happy life without copypasta.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:20 PM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, ED was amazing. I love memes and Internet Culture but I sure did not have the time or resources to follow the hundreds of sites required to get the in-jokes, references, and internet flotsam and jetsam that are their foundation. ED was a fantastic resource for me in that way, and after Wikipedia, I found it to be the best time-suck website on the whole internets.

Sure, it was crass and it was crude and revolting and shocking but...it was trying to document the worst parts of the internet. Or sometimes it was trying to document the internet in the worst way possible. I will admit that it took a bit of cognitive dissonance to get through some of the articles, and yes, there were various offensive and/or cruel articles I couldn't read. Overall, though, it was so valuable in keeping abreast of certain activities, and for providing background and references for all sorts of internet weirdness, that I am going to miss it terribly.

I knew the family-friendly, video-enabled, sanitized bullshit of KnowYourMeme would win out, the first time I ever saw it. It's the kind of website your mom could learn about memes on.

So here's to you, ED: the best of websites, the worst of websites, created last Thursday by the Internet Hate Machine to open eyes and close over 9000 pools, and I'll miss Hitler. I mean you.
posted by m0nm0n at 9:46 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean Hitler.
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 PM on April 15, 2011


It was the story of the Internet, told in its native tongue.
posted by stifford at 10:00 PM on April 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Tale as old as time, sing as old as rhyme,
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on April 15, 2011


Hoist by their own /b/tard.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:18 PM on April 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


so where are we boxy fanbois to congregate now?
posted by 3mendo at 11:39 PM on April 15, 2011


there goes my fucking albert finny meme
rhyme is younger then singing, ask around.
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 PM on April 15, 2011


I'll definitely miss ED. Freedom of expression shouldn't be restricted only to subject matter you approve of. The bitter with the sweet, etc.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:55 AM on April 16, 2011


I guess now I'll never meet Cracky-Chan :(
posted by jtron at 3:46 AM on April 16, 2011


The wholesale destruction of ED is pretty disgusting. It was an astonishing chronicle of Internet culture.

I'm surprised by the snide and smug attitude displayed here. We're witnessing the disintegration of a massive chronicle of one of the most uniquely modern cultures. It's alarmingly otherwise largely undocumented, and especially now with no kind of clearing house for information. How many memes, bizarre references and strange cultural artefacts are going to fade and fall by the wayside? It's history, and it's going to fade.
posted by Magnakai at 4:30 AM on April 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


Who now will torment an autistic thirty-year-old from Virginia about his Sonic fanfiction?

These guys...or they'll document it, at least.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:44 AM on April 16, 2011


just check out their entry on MetaFilter

By ED standards, that's actually pretty lame.


I'm guessing that's because one of us actually wrote the thing. Anybody want to own up to it?

It wasn't me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:39 AM on April 16, 2011


I'm surprisingly sad about ED being gone, even though every time I read a link to it these days I can't help but roll my eyes at how quickly the entry degenerates into unfunny would-be-lulz. I remember the horror I felt when I first stumbled across an ED entry--horror tinged with just a hint of delight--and I guess I kind of miss being able to be shocked by the internet.
posted by Phire at 7:46 AM on April 16, 2011


.

What if this just sends all its regular editors back to Wikipedia out of boredom?! I'd like some balance in the universe here, people.
posted by gusandrews at 8:13 AM on April 16, 2011


so basically the people behind Encyclopedia Dramaticae saw all the traffic they had, how much "know your meme" sold for and freaked out that they were missing out on millions. dont they even get their site wasnt about the content but the culture they helped promote?!?!?

here's a little piece of wisdom am giving away for free today: content isnt king. if content were king you wouldnt have companies spending massive amounts of effort and money on SEOing the crap out of crap.

sites like Wikipedia, 4Chan, and yes Encyclopedia Dramatica, are worth millions thanks to the "stickiness" of their sites. and "good" content isnt what makes people come back. what hooks repeat users is the CULTURE in which the content was created.

and guess what people. machines cant create culture. people are still obligatory for the development of vernaculars. how a community develops a way of speaking to one and other and the outer world is what becomes unique and worthy and in the end, the site's "product". take the people out of the equation and you're just left with words on a machine.

CONTENT ISNT KING. what becomes unique and valuable are the people developing the conent. it's why when Google and Facebook talk about their "products" they arent talking about their services. What they are selling are us, the people using them. USERS ARE THE PRODUCT.

am astounded the people of ED, of all places, dont understand they will never be able to replicate their success by diverting traffic to a new "cleaner" site. they killed off the homebase of a community that made Encyclopedia Dramatic unique to just keep the content? am truly shocked.
posted by liza at 8:47 AM on April 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's history, and it's going to fade.

Or, as ED might put it, serious business.
posted by nathan v at 10:32 AM on April 16, 2011


For those lamenting ED's demise: Lurkmoarpedia.
posted by defenestration at 1:28 PM on April 16, 2011


Note: it's as "charming" as ED was. Enjoy, people who enjoy this stuff.
posted by defenestration at 1:30 PM on April 16, 2011


liza said: CONTENT ISNT KING

One word proof: FARK
posted by localroger at 1:56 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh, the trolls are pissed.

They're trying to DDOS OhInternet, and have been spamming the site's FB page for two days now.
posted by zarq at 5:05 PM on April 16, 2011


liza: " am astounded the people of ED, of all places, dont understand they will never be able to replicate their success by diverting traffic to a new "cleaner" site. they killed off the homebase of a community that made Encyclopedia Dramatic unique to just keep the content? am truly shocked."

I bet you they understand exactly what they've done. :)

Whether the gambit is successful or not remains to be seen, though.

After years of having a permanent wikipedia-style plea for dollars to help offset funding costs at the top of their site, the ED folks probably came to the inevitable conclusion that their devoted lulz-driven userbase wasn't going to be monetized so easily. Looks like they dumped 'em and went looking for fresher, richer and more mainstream blood.

Should be interesting to see what happens next.
posted by zarq at 5:13 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine told me last night she saw it as very much the internet equivalent of Springer - you went there when you felt bad about yourself, and after seeing that you were not one of the people a) featured b) writing there, felt instantly better about your life.
posted by mippy at 3:30 AM on April 18, 2011


I once met someone online through a mutual friend's LJ. I didn't really like them. I saw them around the city IRL a few times as well.

A few years later I saw a photo of them on ED. Naked. With an offensive phrase scrawled on the pic.

At that point ED just seemed to weird and sinister.
posted by Theta States at 9:18 AM on April 18, 2011


I met a girl who sang the Blues, and I asked her for some happy news...

.
posted by nonliteral at 11:21 AM on April 18, 2011


But Theta States, it documented super important Internet history that no one will give a fuck about in decade.
posted by defenestration at 12:16 PM on April 18, 2011


It may have been terrifying and strange, but the truth is it's a cultural document and will remain so.

I'm enjoying the idea that ED was a kind of Necronomicon or Book of the Dead type artifact. In 5000 years, archaeologists will uncover and wonder at the rituals surrounding putting cat ears on women.
posted by DU at 5:19 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair, I was a hater when it came to ED, and though I live online, I rarely read it. The ads were too off-putting, by a factor of a fucking hojillion. Add Jason Fortuney's b.s., and my ongoing haterade of Jameth's wankery, and I pretty much had every reason to purposefully avoid it since its inception.

Yet, somehow, I don't feel like I've missed many memes, nor have I missed out on any relevant documentation of internet culture, and I certainly haven't missed out on any lulz. ED sucked, and I know I am not the only one who won't even notice it's gone.
posted by JLovebomb at 5:44 PM on April 20, 2011


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