Is it Duncan Riley, or is it Techmeme?

This one is a real can of worms in more ways than one, but I can’t help myself. I recently came across (as many other people have, judging by my FriendFeed and Google Reader shared items) a piece by Duncan Riley at his new site, Inquisitr, in which he embarked on a fairly extended rant about Techmeme and how he believes he has been slighted by Gabe Rivera and the secret tweaks he makes to the ranking system on the site. Duncan’s overall message seems to be that he doesn’t mind — and yet, you can tell that it rankles more than a little that he hasn’t had a post appear on Techmeme in over a month.

One of Duncan’s theories (which he tosses out there almost as an aside) is that Mike Arrington’s friendship with Gabe has something to do with it — both because TechCrunch’s posts show up even when Duncan argues they really shouldn’t (because they have no links to them), and because he believes that Mike has something to do with his lack of presence on Techmeme. Why would that be? Didn’t Duncan used to write for Mike? He sure did, and Mike and the rest of the TC team said lots of nice things about him when he left to start Inquisitr — although Mike’s post doesn’t seem to turn up any more at the old link.

So what happened? No one really knows. But there are some tea leaves, if you’re into that sort of thing. Valleywag was the first to note that there was some coolness to the relationship, after Duncan mentioned a person he thought was a friend getting upset and freezing him out over a relationship with a competitor. At about the same time, Mike posted a cryptic Twitter message saying something about people he thought were friends — and Inquisitr started running company snapshots from TradeVibes, which competes head-to-head with Mike’s CrunchBase (I bet posts like this probably aren’t going to help either).

So is there some kind of conspiracy to keep Duncan off Techmeme? That seems pretty hard to believe (Gabe even makes a joking comment on Duncan’s post via FriendFeed). Gabe has always struck me as the straight-forward type — although I admit that I wonder sometimes about posts that appear on Techmeme without any links to them — and the idea that Mike would try to keep him off because of some childish falling out seems absurd. But I guess we don’t have to worry about it too much, because Duncan claims he doesn’t really care.

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