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流言、愤怒、复仇:硅谷和八卦博客的战争

更新时间:2016-5-28 10:52:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Silicon Valley, Gossip, Anger and Revenge
流言、愤怒、复仇:硅谷和八卦博客的战争

Silicon Valley likes to keep the media on a tight leash. Tech executives expect obedience, if not reverence, from reporters. They dole out information as grudgingly as possible. Sometimes they simply buy a chunk of a publication, a time-honored method of influencing what is deemed fit to write about.

硅谷喜欢对媒体保持严格的控制。技术高管们希望记者们就算不是毕恭毕敬,至少也要保持顺从。他们发放消息时要多勉强就有多勉强。有时候他们干脆买下某个出版物的大部分股权,这是影响什么适合发表的一种历史悠久的做法。

Valleywag declined to play the game.

Valleywag拒绝参加这个游戏。

It was a gossip sheet for the digital age: abrasive, knowing, cynical, self-promoting, sometimes unfair. It dispensed snark by the truckload, printing things that people knew or surmised but were off the table. It said Google co-founder Larry Page had dated his then-colleague, Marissa Mayer. That the Google chairman Eric Schmidt was a playboy and a scamp. That the Napster co-founder and early Facebook executive Sean Parker’s wedding was seriously over the top.

它堪称这个数字年代的八卦小报:粗鲁伤人、无所不知、冷眼旁观、自我推销,有时候还不怎么公平。它成堆成堆地抛出恶言恶语,发表那些人们知道或能够猜测出来,但从不公开谈论的事情。它说谷歌的联合创始人拉里·佩奇(Larry Page)约会自己当时的同事梅丽莎·迈耶(Marissa Mayer)。还说谷歌的董事长埃里克·施密特(Eric Schmidt)是个花花公子兼流氓。Napster的联合创始人及Facebook的早期执行官肖恩·帕克(Sean Parker)的婚礼搞得太过头了。

Most notoriously, at least in retrospect, the tech gossip blog said in late 2007 that Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early and significant investor in Facebook, was gay.

最臭名昭著的一件事,至少在事后看来,还要算是2007年年底的那次,这个技术圈八卦博客说,PayPal的联合创始人与Facebook的早期重要投资者彼得·蒂尔(Peter Thiel)是同性恋。

Outing famous people has a long and not particularly respectable history, but Valleywag said it was celebrating Mr. Thiel. The point, as Valleywag’s then-editor Owen Thomas wrote in his post, was that even in Silicon Valley, “a gay investor has no way to fit into the old establishment. That frees him or her to build a different, hopefully better system for identifying and rewarding talented individuals, and unleashing their work on the world.”

揭露名人隐私的做法由来已久,且并不特别受人尊敬,但是Valleywag说,它是在赞美蒂尔先生。它当时的主编欧文·托马斯(Owen Thomas)在自己的帖子里写道,重要的是,即便在硅谷,“一个同性恋投资者都没有办法融入旧体制。这令他们可以解放出来,建立一个完全不同、有可能更好的体系,用于进行身份认同并奖掖有才能者,用他们的工作造福世界。”

This was gossip with an attitude, and an agenda. And what it unleashed was Mr. Thiel’s ire. He secretly financed a suit brought by the wrestler Hulk Hogan against Valleywag’s parent, Gawker Media, which has resulted in $140 million in damages. Gawker is appealing.

这是有态度、有目的性的八卦。然而招来的却是蒂尔先生的愤怒。他秘密资助了一场诉讼,由摔跤运动员哈尔克·霍根(Hulk Hogan)诉讼Valleywag的母公司Gawker传媒,最后Gawker被判决赔偿1.4亿美元的损失费。Gawker目前正在上诉。

The revelation of Mr. Thiel’s involvement in the suit this week brings the complicated relationship of Silicon Valley and the media once again to the forefront. The technology world is ever more important and richer, with smartphones in everyone’s pocket conveying a stream of news that Silicon Valley not only delivers, but helps shape. At the same time, the tech companies are less transparent about what they do.

本周,蒂尔参与该案件的事实被披露,使硅谷与媒体之间的复杂关系再次备受关注。如今这个时代,每个人的智能手机上都在推送一连串新闻,硅谷不仅仅是它们的输送媒介,也在左右它们的内容,科技界变得愈发举足轻重,也更加富有。与此同时,科技公司也变得不再那么透明。

“Silicon Valley is a closed world and has become more closed at the elite levels,” said Fred Turner, chairman of the department of communication at Stanford. “The gossip that circulates between people doesn’t always leap into the media the way it might in New York. So Americans know the Valley primarily through its advertising, its self-promotion and its products.”

“硅谷是个封闭的世界,而且在精英的层面变得更加封闭,”斯坦福联络部主席弗莱德·特纳(Fred Turner)说。“人们之间口耳相传的八卦泄露到媒体的方式和纽约的方式不一定一样。所以美国人了解硅谷主要是通过它的广告、它的自我宣传与它的产品。”

Valleywag challenged that, and the Valley — or at least Mr. Thiel — pushed back.

Valleywag挑战了这种方式,而硅谷——至少是蒂尔——做出了反击。

“We should not be surprised that they act like entitled industrialists out here, because they are,” Mr. Turner said.

“他们像外面那些有特权的工业巨头那样行事,这不应该让我们感到奇怪,因为他们本来就是,”特纳说。

Valleywag was born in 2006, an arm of Gawker’s then-expanding empire of blogs, and it died last winter. It had a hiatus or two along the way, with Nick Denton, the Gawker founder, stepping in to write the blog at one point. Its most influential years were in the beginning, especially under Mr. Thomas, who ran the site from 2007 until 2009.

Valleywag诞生于2006年,当时Gawker正在扩张一个博客帝国,Valleywag是其中的一员,它于去年冬天倒闭。这段时间里它曾经中断过一两次,导致Gawker的创始人尼克·丹顿(Nick Denton)一度都要介入为它写博客。它最有影响力的年代是在刚开始创建的时期,特别是2007年到2009年,托马斯经营网站的那段时间。

“On one hand the reporting was terribly caustic and brutal and on the other it was really thorough and investigative and accurate in a lot of cases,” said Brandee Barker, former head of global communications at Facebook. “I would read a story and think, ‘How on earth did they find this information that is correct?’ Other times I’d read Valleywag and think, ‘This is the most evil and unfair characterization of somebody I’ve ever read in journalism.’”

“他们的报道一方面非常尖刻,不留情面;另一方面,它们确实极为详尽,经过大量调查研究,在很多情况下都很准确,”Facebook的前全球联络主管布兰迪·巴克(Brandee Barker)说。“我往往看过一篇报道后想,‘他们到底是怎么发现这个信息是正确的?’有时候我看了Valleywag之后就想,‘这是我从新闻里读到的对某人最恶毒,最不公正的描写。’”

John Cook, executive editor of Gawker Media, who helped put Valleywag to rest last year, said the site “didn’t play the access game.”

Gawker 传媒的总编约翰·库克(John Cook)去年协助关闭了Valleywag,他说,这个网站“不玩信息渠道的游戏。”

Mr. Thomas, now business editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, said the goal of Valleywag was to improve the tech community.

托马斯如今在《旧金山纪事报》(The San Francisco Chronicle)担任经济版编辑,他说Valleywag的目标就是令科技社区得到改进。

“Silicon Valley said it had ideals,” he said. “All we asked was that it live up to those ideals. If you’re going to say that you’re a meritocracy, then don’t hire all of your buddies to launch a start-up who all happen to be young white men. Don’t say you’re apolitical when you’re secretly funding anti-immigration measures.”

“硅谷说它有理想,”他说。“我们想问的只不过是,它是怎么来实践这些理想的。如果你说自己任人唯贤,那就别只雇自己的人,搞一个初创公司,里面全是年轻白人。不要一边说自己和政治无关,一边又偷偷资助反移民议案。”

For Mr. Thiel, taking action against Gawker may be a win. Dan Lyons, an author who was briefly a Valleywag writer, said what Mr. Thiel did “sets a scary precedent,” but “my guess is that most people hate Gawker as much as he does, so he probably ends up looking like a hero among his own crowd.”

对于蒂尔来说,采取行动反对Gawker可能是一着好棋。曾经短暂为Valleywag撰稿的丹·里昂斯(Dan Lyons)说,蒂尔的确“树立了一个可怕的先例,”但是“我猜大多数人和他一样憎恨Gawker,所以最后他可能会在自己的圈子里被视为英雄。”

That response was not long in coming. Scott Adams, whose Dilbert cartoon is a satirical look at the modern workplace, wrote on his blog on Wednesday that “this is another example in which I think citizens are taking a more active role in fixing the world when government isn’t the right tool for the job.”

这样的反应很快就来了。斯科特·亚当斯(Scott Adams)创作的迪尔伯特(Dilbert)卡通画是讽刺现代工作场所的,星期三,他在自己的博客上写道:“这又是一个例子,当政府不作为的时候,公民在改变世界方面发挥了积极作用。”

Mr. Adams wrote approvingly of Mr. Thiel, “I assume he is acting out of a combination of revenge and a desire to make the world a better place.”

亚当斯赞同蒂尔的做法,“我觉得他的目的不仅仅是报复,也是为了让这个世界变成一个更好的地方。”

Without this week’s news, Valleywag’s legacy would be uncertain. Several Silicon Valley figures asked to comment on Wednesday said they had not read it or did not know it was defunct.

假如没有这个星期的新闻,Valleywag的遗产尚不明确。星期三,若干接受采访的硅谷人物都说自己从没读过它的博客,也不知道这个已经不复存在的网站。

Others, like the Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff, an occasional Valleywag target, said simply about the site and this week’s events, “I don’t care about any of those people.”

还有一些人,比如 Salesforce的首席执行官,曾经短暂充当过Valleywag靶子的马克·本尼奥夫(Marc Benioff),简洁地评价这个网站与本周的这些风波:“所有这些人我全都不关心。”

The news about Mr. Thiel funding the suit against Gawker broke just as the previous contretemps about Silicon Valley and the media — how Facebook shapes the news that its users see, sparked by a story in Gizmodo, another Gawker property — was dying down. Mr. Thiel, as it happens, is a Facebook board member. Facebook declined to comment on Mr. Thiel.

蒂尔资助诉讼Gawker案件一事爆出时,此前一场硅谷与媒体关系的争论正在逐渐平息——这场争论是由Gawker旗下的另一个网站Gizmodo的报道挑起的,内容是Facebook是如何操纵用户看到的新闻。蒂尔恰好也是Facebook董事会成员。Facebook方面拒绝就蒂尔一事做出评论。

Mr. Thomas, who is himself gay, argues that Valleywag was not really outing Mr. Thiel. “I did discuss his sexuality, but it was known to a wide circle who felt that it was not fit for discussion beyond that circle,” he said. “I don’t believe he was in the closet. He was never hiding it.”

托马斯本人也是同性恋,他说,Valleywag并没有真正揭露蒂尔的隐私。“我确实讨论了他的性取向,但这件事已经被一个很广泛的圈子所知道了,他们认为此事适合在这个圈子之外进行讨论,”他说。“我不相信他没有出柜,他从来都没掩饰过。”

However much Valleywag said it admired Mr. Thiel for being “the smartest V.C. in the world,” it took a more disparaging view as well. In one post about Mr. Thiel’s claims of hiring only the best to work at his hedge fund, Clarium Capital, Mr. Thomas wrote, “Oh, really? Take a look at their résumés on LinkedIn. Like so many of this outspokenly harebrained libertarian’s theses, the claim sounds good on paper but doesn’t stand up to inspection.”

虽然Valleywag说自己敬仰蒂尔是“世界上最聪明的副主席”,但还是发表了不少贬低他的言论。蒂尔曾说自己的对冲基金Clarium Capital只雇用最佳人才,托马斯在一篇帖子里写道,“啊,真的吗?看看他们在LinkedIn上的简历吧。像很多轻率地畅所欲言的自由主义者们的口号一样,他的说法听上去不错,但是却经不起推敲。”

Mr. Thiel returned the favor, calling Valleywag “the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda.”

蒂尔反唇相讥,说Valleywag是“硅谷的基地组织。”

“It scares everybody,” he said in a 2009 interview with Pe Hub, a private equity publication. “It’s terrible for the Valley, which is supposed to be about people who are willing to think out loud and be different. I think they should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters.”

“它令所有人害怕,”他在2009年接受私人投资出版物《Pe Hub》采访时说。“对于硅谷来说它很可怕,因为硅谷是一个期待所有人都说出自己的思想,做与众不同的人的地方。我觉得他们应该被称为恐怖分子,而不是作家或记者。”

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