You May Not Leave Gawker
The commenter community at Gawker is nothing like the YouTube comment community. On YouTube you expect little more than name calling, insults, blatant spam and expletives, all usually spelled poorly or typed in Middle School Text Speech. On Gawker, it's more like a giant convention hall of would-be comedians who also happen to be the most smug, snarky and snide group you will ever encounter. In fact, Gawker states, "You need to audition to become a commenter." That was half the fun of dropping in on a Gawker thread. Some of the comments were hilarious one-liners and rapid-fire jabs just dripping with the kind of cruel comedy usually reserved for celebrity roasts. And I'm pretty sure it was that attitude of superiority that caused the hacker collective Gnosis to attack them.
So I thought now would be a good time to renounce the Church of Gawker. I got my "You'd better change your password" email from the administrators of the site, and I complied. But then I wanted out. Hang up my black robe and turn in my goblet of goat's blood. No such luck. From Gawker's recently modified FAQ:
How can I delete my account?
We understand how important trust is on the web, and some of you may wish to delete your Gawker Media account. Currently account deletion is not available. We will, however, give you this option as soon as possible.
That is the biggest load of corporate bullshit I have ever read. I know because I often write it. What Gawker is saying between the lines here is:
Look, if we let everyone bail right now we'd be in a world of hurt. We know you're pissed and we understand you want to leave, but we're not going to let you. We covet this list of users as our lifeblood. It is one of the things that tells advertisers how valuable we are. A mass exodus right now would screw us bad. You may not leave. Maybe later, but not now.
I tried to look at this from an IT standpoint and I still think it's bullshit. OK, maybe Gawker is afraid that some of the hacked emails and passwords will cause other crafty types to just start deleting Gawker accounts willy-nilly. Yeah, I could see that. But if I've already changed my password and confirmed I am the account-holder, why can't I get out now? Are we waiting for EVERYONE in the Gawker community to change their passwords before we are allowed to opt out? That'll take a while. Gawker's true hope here is that when they finally announce you are allowed to opt out, you will have forgotten or forgiven the Hack Heard Round the World. And they'll bury the announcement somewhere deep on the site if and when that time comes.
If an IT guru knows differently, please let me know, but my own consultations with a few skilled coders have confirmed for me that this is a giant load of shit on Gawker's part. The time it would take to write and test a code allowing confirmed users out of Gawker would be minimal.