-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.
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