RIP, ED

It looks like Encyclopedia Dramatica has finally died. For the uninitiated, Encyclopedia Dramatica was a wiki devoted to Internet culture and was known for the shock value in its presentation. Flashing images on the article about the invasion of the epilepsy forum was a normal thing to see at ED. Racism, sexism, and gore are also normal. Despite the offensive content, ED provided a wealth of information on memes, websites, Internet history, culture, and current events (and how they related to the Internet). Yes, this sounds like Know Your Meme, but these two sites differ in some important ways.

Anyone could contribute to Encyclopedia Dramatica, and it showed up on the site immediately. Wiki magic ensured that the content improved over time. At Know Your Meme, you submit a meme, and it gets researched by users and staff before it gets marked as confirmed or deadpooled. ED didn’t care about notability. If it was part of Internet culture, ED wanted it. As a result, ED featured a wider variety of content than Know Your Meme does, and that’s what made ED such a valuable resource, even with all the questionable content and penchant for lulz. Almost everything I know about the Internet I learned from ED.

Now that Encyclopedia Dramatica is gone, what next? ED evolved into the significantly cleaner Oh Internet, and the encyclopediadramatica.com domain redirects to Oh Internet, leaving the original ED site in the dust. All those years of Internet history have now been reduced to a few downloads making their way around Reddit. There’s talk of a few folks continuing the spirit of ED, but whether anything comes out of it is yet to be seen.

And where will 4chan organize for their movements? Will they find their way to an ED successor if one forms, or will they form other ways to organize? 4chan itself is a terrible way to organize such things because of how quickly the boards move, so an offsite place to gather information is vital for them. Only time will tell, but for now we can mourn the loss of a crass but valuable Internet resource.

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