Slashdot.org is a website created by CmdrTaco and caters news to Nerds on stuff that matters. Stuff like Linux Unix and Computers. Everyone say the name out loud now... h-t-t-p-colon- slash-slash... Slashdot works by people submitting stories they find around the net. The good stuff is posted and shared by all. Users then can post comments. It's uber fun for all. Except when the flame wars start. Then I get suicidal.

Context: online communities/portals

News website populated with stories submitted by wide ranging news scavengers - the slashdot readers themselves.

Commentaries on stories are collected from users. There're so many contributions a rating system is in use, based on points scored for good posts, as rated by slashdot moderators, who are given moderation points to award based on their slashdot karma.

However, there is a community of users that operate to increase eachothers' karma, though it is not a strictly conscious effort. Grabbing attention to your posts to score karma is done via the slashdot karma collection formula, employed by karma whores. The self-promoting factionalizing community is similar to those occuring on the old BBS software Pyroto Mountain.

Online community dedicated to spouting the endless upside of open source. Large quantities of one-eyed opinions submitted by adepts and newbies alike. Fortunately, it employs a ratings system based on the peer-review of articles. Unfortunately, high-scoring articles are generally linux- or open source-related, and so the cycle of self-congratulatory sycophantism continues.
A much better and less biased forum of genuinely useful information can be found at fravia.org.

In the last six months or so, the S/N ratio has gotten even worse. Now on slashdot, the highest moderated comments are generally can be broken down into three categories:

  1. Links. These are what I see at the top of most of today's discussions. Maybe some minor commentary, but mainly people just showing me that they know how to use a search engine. Get the fours and fives. Generally karma whores.
  2. People reposting information they found on other sites. This is at least mildly useful, it brings something to the conversation. Quickly get moderated up to threes and fours.
  3. And lastly, the few and the proud who actually writeup their own informed opinions on the matter. These are generally lucky to make it to three, and are a rarity.

I don't know what it is, maybe /. has gotten too big for its own good and is tripping over itself, but I don't see the same inspiring information, ideas, and articles I used to.

Q. How did you know to go to the LiViD website, download
the material you downloaded in October and November?
A. I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
Q. Tell me what the trail was.
A. I read about it on Slashdot


(ms. Reider, chief operations anti-Privacy MPAA, cross examinated by Mr.Garbus (attorney 2600.com))

Slashdot - verb

When a website is 'slashdotted', it has experienced a large amount of hits preventing the web server from operating properly. The page may load up slow or not at all. This happens when a URL is published in an article on http://www.slashdot.org. The huge readership of slashdot follows this URL. This prevents other readers of slashdot the ability to check out the link in the first place.

Slashdotting a website is probably one of the cruelest things you can do to the poor web admins that happen to host content deemed "News for Nerds".

This is also called the Slashdot Effect.
Cult-like news website which boasts the slogan "News for Nerds, Stuff That Matters." The site was founded by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda in 1997 as a small website running on his Hope College internet account, titled "Chips and Dip." The name Slashdot is a play on awkward url syntax, apparently one of those things that Rob thought was funny at the time, but nips him in the bud when it's time to give out his email address. Slashdot receives around a million page views a day.

The site struggles to maintain some sense of editorial integrity, though Rob has been known to say that the site is still just about stuff he thinks is cool. Slashdot also has a self-admitted bias towards the ideals of Open Source, and makes a point of plugging Linux. It's also interesting to note that news articles are almost always quotes from user news submissions, followed by an editorial remark. These editorial remarks sometimes contain spelling and grammar errors, which trolls love to point out. The unpolished presentation goes uncommented on by the majority of readers, and (perhaps intentionally) is rarely cleaned up after the post.

Slashdot has undergone some structural changes in the past several years, and is now owned by VA, a publicly traded company. Although there is an underlying corporate structure to the site, the Slashdot staff almost oppose it in some ways, and are vigilant in their quest to continue running the site in the spirit with which it was started. Indeed, Slashdot has a very mom and pop feel. The web servers run Linux, and are maintained by Slashdot in-house staff.

Rob Malda is at the head of Slashdot, and it is a credit to him that he personally takes responsibility for the site. As he is very quick to point out, he takes the brunt of user dissatisfaction, and the blame if their Cisco hardware fails them. He receives over 400 (personally addressed) emails daily pertaining to Slashdot. The Slashdot editors make a point to come accross as human beings and not corporate figureheads.

Due to the site's popularity, Slashdot has one of the strongest trolling communities this side of USENET. This problem has lead to tremendous perl-based efforts to implement user comment moderation that scales (run on sentence). Though flawed, the system works, and Rob has strongly defended the system in several notorious IRC flame wars. The IRC logs are worth reading, if only to demonstrate the kind of stress trolls put on this guy.

There is a ridiculous amount of documentation pertaining to every aspect of the Slashdot comment system.

The code that runs Slashdot is called the Slashcode, and it is freely available under the GPL. Slashcode is widely considered a hack job, though it's also a constant work in progress.

There is a Slashdot radio show, called "Geeks in Space", which is a hilarious and infrequent gathering of the Holland Michigan Gang (generally CmdrTaco, CowboyNeal, Hemos, and mixmaster Nate Oostendorp) where they discuss Slashdot-related stuff among other things.

Factoids!

  • Slashdot runs on "ungodly" VA webservers running Debian Linux, Apache, Perl, and MySQL
  • The editors get flown to a lot of conferences, and some of them are sick of flying
  • Sony flows the Slashdot staff free Vaio laptops. They install Linux on these things, and eventually destroy them.
  • Slashdot staff will publicly ask for free hardware and software from companies in a humorous manner
  • Slashdot is centered in small town America

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