paper trail

The future of Reddit and First Look

Christian Rudder

OkCupid’s popular blog, OkTrends, is back after a three-year hiatus. Written by Christian Rudder, a co-founder of the dating website, the blog returns with a post mocking Facebook’s recent data-collection scandal—not making fun of Facebook, as you might think, but rather what Rudder considers the naive outrage of its users: “Guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.” OkTrends, after all, is built on data gathered from OkCupid users. Rudder describes one experiment in which they gave people a faulty “match percentage” to see if they were more likely like each other when told by the app that they should. (They were.) Rudder has a book on data, Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking), forthcoming from Crown in September.

First Look owner Pierre Omidyar provides an “update” to readers. The nine-month-old media company has hired twenty-five journalists, and plans to hire twenty-five more by the end of the year. They’ll stay in the “planning, startup and experimental mode for at least the next few years,” Omidyar says.

Thirty-two thousand digital-only subscribers joined the Times in the second quarter of 2014, for a total of 831,000 online subscriptions.

On the New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, Abigail Deutsch investigates the origins of a mysterious unsigned poem on a sign in Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park. And editors provide a roundup of New Yorker stories about New York, including one by John Cheever. The magazine’s entire archive is temporarily free online, and will likely remain that way into the fall.

Christopher Kempf considers Amtrak’s attempt to rebrand with an artist’s residency: “Amtrak’s conception of writers’ work . . . remains just as romanticized as the ideal of rail travel it’s attempting to promote.”