A news site about Linux, free software, technology, science fiction, and other issues near and dear to computer geeks around the world. Started in September, 1997 by RobMalda aka CmdrTaco, this was the first WebLog to introduce user comments.
Slashdot is not a democracy. While anyone can post responses to stories, the actual stories on the front page are chosen only by the slashdot editors. They are generally selected by the staff from user suggestions.
Slashdot runs on SlashCode.
Slashdot's contributions to CollaborativeHypermedia:
SlashDot has become incredibly popular, and has dealt with its increasing volume of posts (and decreasing SignalToNoiseRatio) by introducing a moderation system. Regular readers are randomly selected to become temporary moderators, and gain the power to increment or decrement the scores of other readers' posts. Readers of SlashDot can choose to read only posts whose score have been moderated to above some threshold.
Another feature of SlashDot is the "karma" system, a very basic sort of TrustMetric. Users whose posts are consistently moderated up gain bonus points for their future posts, while those who have poor karma lose the ability to moderate.
There's even meta-moderation, an attempt to keep the moderators honest by giving users the chance to lower the karma of poor moderators.
Posts to Slashdot by anonymous or unregistered users are made under the shared AnonymousIdentity byline "Anonymous Coward."
Some fun links discovered while mining the wake of Signal11's departure:
You know, I actually feel stupider after reading Slashdot. -- SunirShah
Anyone can create their own sid and post comments to it -- just type in the URL and you're ready to go. Back in the day, 10gramspoppylatex and k3220inchfan were the cool troll hangouts, but their comments have expired. Alas, steelcage has finally bit the dust as well! Vladinator still has a little bit of activity.
Cached Sig11 vs Taco IRC log
[10 December 2001] I've temporarily (I hope) pulled it out of the Google cache while KuroShin is down. I don't think it's appropriate to hold onto the IRC log forever--ForgiveAndForget, after all. At some point in the short term, someone (probably me) will have to dig through the text to summarize the case history at which point I will delete it. After all, it is an interesting example of how conflict occurs from online community architecture, as well as trolling, GodKings, and probably a million other subtle points. Meanwhile, I think I'll ask Rusty to burn it when kuro5hin comes back. -- SunirShah
If you aren't enjoying SlashDot, you may have your threshold set too low. Try reading at a threshold of 3 or 4 for a few days. (Even a level of 3 will get rid of quite a few people abusing the +1 karma bonus.) The key to using the threshold is realizing that you will miss many (possibly most) of the good posts. The SlashDot moderation process generally gives a good sample of high-quality posts after a few hours.
The Slashdot moderation system is a complete mess. Hence Signal11's departure. Besides that, at a threshold of 3 (my normal level), you usually only get the most passionate and well written "Linux rulez1!#@$!" posts, not necessarily the most intelligent. The most informative posts are usually buried at threshold 1 or 2, sometimes 0. I guess that moderators are merely confused as to what is important or not (as they don't have informed opinions). It's really useless. You should only give PeerPrivilege to those who qualify, not just RandomPeerPrivilege. It's like forcing people to vote, which has historically lead people to vote primarily on demagogics. Wiki:BarberIsm. -- SunirShah
Has anyone else noticed an improvement in quality at Slashdot since KuroShin's rise in popularity?
Yes. Many of the people who complained (on SlashDot) about the lack of quality on SlashDot have moved their complaining-noise to K5 (with snide comments about "The Other Site"). This has helped SlashDot. I've also lowered my expectations of SlashDot so they are easier to meet. As long as I keep the threshold at 3, SlashDot works quite well for those days when KuroShin doesn't have enough comments. --CliffordAdams
I don't say this to beat up on the SlashDot editors: I'm sure the volume of story submissions is probably unmanageably high these days, and given the process they've got, I'd probably make many of the same mistakes. Or has the process improved recently? These kinds of problems seem to have dipped recently, though maybe that's just because I read SlashDot less now. -- FrancisHwang
But SlashDot isn't the CBS Evening News. As a weblog, its primary value is to cherry-pick the most relevant, interesting news for its audience. I'd argue that most people use it first to prevent having to wade through all that stuff themselves, and secondarily to read original content, or read other people's comments. So the problems with story approvals go to the core of the site's value.
But is sloppiness a personal failing, or the manifestation of a poorly designed process? I imagine that the kind of editing work required of SlashDot editors, reading through hundreds of submissions a day, is exhausting and tedious. Far more tedious than the work of being an editor of a traditional news organ that creates its own content. Is there a way to both increase quality while making the work less tedious? -- FrancisHwang
Have you seen KuroShin?
What does editing the news mean, anyway? What's the difference between high and low quality news? If you answer that, maybe we can figure out how to make it scale.
Sure. More signal, less noise. That's not an easily measurable metric, but it is significant. In fact, it's at the core of what a weblog like SlashDot is supposed to do.
But what's signal? What does an editor do in practical terms, not in quasi ideal terms?
Are we talking web editors, newspaper editors or magazine editors here? They are not analogous positions. --DJ
In all this, those who hold the GodKing power don't invoke it all the time. If a producer had to handhold every segment producer and line editor, that producer would never get any sleep, the segment producers and line editors would never get good enough to become producers, and the final show would suck. I used to be in a student paper, and there were the co-editors, a layout editor, a copy editor (me), and section editors. The editors were GodKings. They decided who got hired and all that. The job titles were fuzzy, though. The layout editor, after designing the book over the summer and adjusting here and there, didn't have strong job requirements over the rest of the year, so he was also the Mac sysadmin. I was copy editor, section editor of the National and World section (all AP news, except what I wrote, which was little), and I also critiqued layout, as I copy-edited scratch pages, not individual articles. So, while there were GodKings, they knew that the job was bigger than them, so power flowed down. In SlashDot (weren't we talking about SlashDot?), they hired more story editors to go through the submission slush pile. In Kuro5hin, the users go through the slush pile. Segment producers come up with news story ideas, many of which never reach the air.
The GodKing of a media thing has important power. He creates and keeps the focus. It is my opinion that the lack of GodKingliness of Rusty and the lack of a K5Cabal that has made Kuro5hin increasingly worthless for browsing. SlashDot has grown from a hobby project to a media empire (I was shocked when I saw their first print ads). They have gone from a hobby site run by friends to a big site with employees and print ads, and done well. Not perfect, but well. --DaveJacoby
Interesting that you think I should be more of a GodKing, rather than less. I assume you mean that KuroShin has lost focus, in the absence of me "steering" it one way or another. I would argue, on the contrary, that KuroShin never had focus, and any that it seemed to have was the result of a temporary confluence of like-minded users, which has since changed. I think it is, now, more like I always wanted it to be than it ever has been in the past. And that is, paradoxically, the result of my not deciding what it is supposed to be about.
But mainly what I like about the site is its unguided nature. Or maybe I mean its self-guided nature. It certainly wouldn't be the site it is if I "took charge" and decided where it ought to go, but I don't think it would be a better site for that. I like that it takes me places I never thought to look.
But it strikes me that you might be one of the first people I've ever heard suggest that I ought to be more in control of K5. As I said, if you'd like to expand, I'd be interested to hear why. --RustyFoster
I very much like the concept of "self-defined" communities that have the freedom to decide what they will become, not being bound by impositions that are external to the community or a narrowly defined focus (kinda reminds me of existentialist philosophy...). My guess is that they will tend to attract more open minds and outlive other communities because of a better ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Other communities run the risk of becoming irrelevant and burn out. Something different can be expected to rise from their ashes, though. --SebPaquet
Some Slashdotters don't realy "get" wiki: