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Mene Mene Tekel Slashdotin

By adamba in Culture
Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 04:16:11 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

You have been weighed, and found wanting, by the Slashdot crew -- (not really) the handwriting on the wall, Daniel 5:25

Here's one Freud probably never had to deal with: Is it morally wrong, when reading a Slashdot thread about yourself, to moderate the replies?

A few days ago I had a review of my book posted on Slashdot.

The good news was, it spread the word and boosted my sales rank on amazon.

The bad news was, now 50,000 people I had never met had an excuse to talk about me. Such is the price of fame.

It all started innocently enough. I had written my book, and after reading a comment by Danny Yee about a Kuro5hin article I wrote, I sent him a copy of the book. He promptly reviewed it, and then mentioned he was going to submit it to Slashdot. Lo and behold, a few days later it was posted, and the fun began.

I not only got to watch a discussion about my motivation, net worth, sanity, and sexual orientation, I actually had the power to do something about it, because through the magic of karma, the Slashdot gods had blessed me as a moderator that day, meaning I could moderate 5 replies up or down.

Slashdot rules forbid moderating and posting in the same thread...so should I publicly post replies in the thread, or just sneakily moderate a few choice ones? Thought: Would it be strange to post in a discussion about me? I read somewhere that famous people sometimes participate in fan sites about themselves. Another thought: Why was I worrying about what famous people did?

Secretly moderating appealed to me, but there was so much there that I wanted to comment on, and not just the obscene rap lyrics, fascinating aside on programmers who smoke, grammar lessons, and the inevitable complaints about the lameness of Slashdot itself. I mean what can you do with people who make fun of the title of your book? Did I mention people making fun of the title of my book? Heck one person took the time to rewrite part of it!

Still it looked like a lot of my work had been done for me. Sure some people hated it, (one person didn't even make it past the first sentence), but I also picked up a few sales, although some people weren't planning on paying. A few fellow authors chimed in, as did a former Microsoft intern.

I almost had to jump in to explain what the reviewer meant by my being a low-level programmer (answer: it was a little of both). Luckily others jumped to my defense, even going so far as to post a link to all my K5 articles (he wasn't the only person slumming there (hey, who modded that "OffTopic"!)). I wasn't too happy with people bagging on my reviewer, but he jumped in to defend himself.

Still in the final analysis I felt I could live without congratulating anyone for their perceptive comments about open source (really perceptive!). So I went for moderating instead. What posts got my imprimatur? Well, I couldn't really avoid marking such glowing praise as "Insightful". I thought this long reply deserved an "Insightful", and liked this "Interesting" comment. I rescued this Anonymous Coward" from a score of 0. Finally, notwithstanding this argument to the contrary, I thought this anti-Microsoft screed was the most entertaining thing there -- and the guy read all the way to page 249!. So I modded it up -- part of its eventual total of "Offtopic=1, Flamebait=3, Interesting=2, Informative=1, Overrated=2, Underrated=2". Was everyone reading the same thing?

Well, 232 comments later the chatter seems to have died down, my karma pimpin' is over, and I can go back to my previous anonymous existence. Thank you for your time.


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Now I know that adamba:
o Is the most boring person on the planet 7%
o Has too much time on his hands 23%
o Will burn in karma hell 4%
o Is a hyper-linking fool 34%
o Is a regular kind of fool 3%
o Is a brilliant author 3%
o ** Too busy rating -1 to answer ** 22%

Votes: 63
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Kuro5hin
o review of my book
o sales rank on amazon
o 50,000 people I had never met
o book
o comment
o Danny Yee
o Kuro5hin article I wrote
o reviewed it
o motivation
o net worth
o sanity
o sexual orientation
o obscene rap lyrics
o fascinatin g aside on programmers who smoke
o grammar lessons
o inevitable complaints about the lameness of Slashdot itself
o title of your book
o title of my book
o rewrite part of it
o hated it
o make it past the first sentence
o few
o sales
o weren't planning on paying
o fellow
o authors
o former Microsoft intern
o low-level programmer
o jumped to my defense
o all my K5 articles
o slumming
o bagging on my reviewer
o jumped in to defend himself
o perceptive comments about open source
o perceptive
o glowing praise
o long reply
o "Interesti ng"
o Anonymous Coward"
o argument to the contrary
o anti-Micro soft screed
o Also by adamba

Display: Sort:
Mene Mene Tekel Slashdotin | 36 comments (22 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
front page! (2.60 / 5) (#7)
by rebelcool on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:49:53 AM EST

mainly because k5 is turning into the same mass of mindless zealot zombies that slashdot is.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Not Quite (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by Matrix on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 06:12:09 PM EST

K5 is turning into a mass of zealot zombies that feels obligated to bash Slashdot, ESR, libertarians, and anyone with contrary opinions. As opposed to Slashdot, where most people bash ZDnet (or Microsoft), RMS, knowledgable people, and anyone with contrary opinions.

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

heh.. (2.33 / 3) (#20)
by rebelcool on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 06:41:52 PM EST

well, i feel an opinion is good, if at least its an informed opinion. Slashdot is full of very ignorant people. ESR, well i wont even bother he's such an easy target.

as for zealot zombies im referring of course to the GPL/open source/linux-in-general zealots. God forbid a witty ex-employee of microsoft besmirch the good name of k5 with his very presence!

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Seriousness (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by Matrix on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 07:16:42 PM EST

I wasn't being entirely serious. While I may not have liked or agreed with articles or comments by the given ex-employee. As for zombies, remember that there are just as many Microsoft/Windows/proprietary-software-in-general zealots. And, from what I've seen, the Windows ones are often a whole lot worse than the Linux ones - few Linux users troll on Windows message boards, whereas the number of Windows trolls on sites like Linuxnewbie.org is almost unbearable.

Not that I'm saying zealotry's not a problem... I'm just pointing out that its in no way limited to Linux.

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

trolls (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by rebelcool on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 09:37:17 PM EST

well, trolls are a different story. its usually someone just trying to get a rise out of someone else just for pure pleasure, who couldnt care less about the topic being trolled upon. Really - why would windows folks even bother with linuxnewbie? None would. No more than linux users ever bother to read the windows boards.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

the original kuro5hin whiner? (1.00 / 1) (#36)
by eternalkernel on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 10:27:12 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Entertaining as Heck (3.75 / 4) (#12)
by JazzManJim on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 09:24:52 AM EST

I found it entertaining, a fun read, and a good way to divert my attention from other completely mindless stuff going on around me.

Thanks for digging up this stuff and making it a bit more convenient for me to find.

+1, Section (to counterbalance some -1 from a grumpy curmudgeon)

"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
I have to wonder... (3.25 / 4) (#13)
by marlowe on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 10:35:32 AM EST

just what exactly were you expecting?

You Microsoft people need to get out more.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
There's a reason they don't get out more. (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by hotcurry on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 11:00:07 AM EST

They can't take all the abuse.

[ Parent ]
WOW!! (2.50 / 2) (#15)
by univgeek on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:22:49 PM EST

I think Slashdot has been slashdotted??? I coudnt reach it!!!

In any case I had read the review earlier on slashdot, and I must say I found it interesting.

And this article is well written (or rather linked :-) too.

Arguing with an Electrical Engineer is liking wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you realise the pig is enjoying it!

no (none / 0) (#33)
by Ubiq on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 02:40:41 PM EST

Slashdot got k5'ed.

I guess that's a first.

[ Parent ]
Don't moderate; just jump in (3.25 / 4) (#19)
by Wondertoad on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 06:24:26 PM EST

I can't read the links, because /. appears to be /.'d from where I sit, but ...

When you're the author or in some way connected to a story or comment, if you jump right in and make some corrections or clarifications to people's comments, they usually say to themselves "Oh Shit!" and start backtracking fiercely. At that point the discussion becomes much more civil and constructive.

And part of the beauty of the virtual community is that there CAN be feedback in both directions. How many of us, when reading an editorial or a book or a magazine, want to hit that "reply" key so hard it falls off? I don't want to visit sites I can't talk back to!

slashdot slashdotted? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by localroger on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 07:28:01 PM EST

I just thought it was my ISP acting up again, they've been giving me random windows of time in which K5 turns up DNS errors. Does anybody know what is going on over there?

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Not just ./ (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by Alexander the Drake on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 12:37:06 AM EST

All of andover.net's hosted sites are down. Unfortunately, not even http://slashdot.ne.jp offers any clue.
(Fun browsing though[1]. Check out the iBook Suitcase hack.)

[1] Beware the fish!

[ Parent ]

Slashdot suffering from dead router (none / 0) (#30)
by jesterzog on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 04:40:28 AM EST

I was roaming in #slashdot (on slashnet) and someone commented that a router had gone down. I didn't stay around long to ask any more though, so I'm not sure what the details are.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Yup, it's a router (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by Alexander the Drake on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 03:00:37 PM EST

Confirmed here (just in case the story disappears in the queue). And /.jp also has coverage today (slightly confusing, babelfished), which seems to link it to an Exodus problem, though this is also doubted on the NANOG mailing list.

[ Parent ]
I considered doing it, as I said (2.33 / 3) (#28)
by adamba on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 12:53:33 AM EST

But I liked the sneaky moderating instead. Plus I wanted to see how it played out without me. And most importantly, posting would have messed up the hook for this K5 article.

If anyone *really* wanted to ask me something, there's a button to email me from the book's homepage.

- adam

[ Parent ]

Freud? (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by jordanb on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 12:32:49 AM EST

Here's one Freud probably never had to deal with: Is it morally wrong...

Since when has Freud involved himself with morality? I thought he was the scientist who developed psychoanalysis, not a moralist or religious leader.

You talk about the price of fame, but appearently, you find fame cheap enough that you feel the need to post a story to Kuro5hin talking about getting your book reviewed on Slashdot. You do so by asking a rather stupid Ask-Slashdotesq question, I might add. You made it quite appearent that you read a good part of the discussion, and you posted a link to the webpage for you book, which conveniently has links to the pages from which to buy your book on Amazon or Bn.

Just a few observations on my part.

Jordan Bettis
Ah whatever (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by adamba on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 12:51:07 AM EST

Freud, Floyd, adenoid, that was just the intro sentence. I was never much good at those.

I read the entire slashdot discussion twice, then I annotated it so I knew what posts I wanted to talk about, then I laboriously linked up my article to point to those posts. Of course the book's webpage has links to buy it.

Anyway, what's your point?

- adam

[ Parent ]

Oh great... I'll make a buck at k5 too! (1.66 / 3) (#29)
by cbraga on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 01:12:59 AM EST

Now all the folks over slashdot are reading about my book and I'll make a few more easy dollars...

Say, if I could advertise in some other web site it'd be even better... I wonder if I could pull this off on kuro5hin with some lame excuse...

ESC[78;89;13p ESC[110;121;13p

show me the money (none / 0) (#32)
by adamba on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 02:24:10 PM EST

Of course there was a *small* element of shameless self-promotion in it. But without SSP, sites like K5, slashdot, etc. would have very little content on them.

Primarily it was meant to be entertaining. I can invoke the noted "Kuro5hin defense" -- I just wrote it, others cast the votes to post it.

Unfortunately slashdot chose yesterday to drop off the grid. Without being able to follow all the links, the article is pretty pointless.

- adam

[ Parent ]

Happens once a week. (1.00 / 1) (#35)
by QuantumG on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 05:56:10 PM EST

I wont bother mentioning that I post a lot on Slashdot. Often during Meta Moderation I will be asked whether a rating on a post that is a reply to me is fair or not. The first time this happened I was both shocked and a little curious as to what was the moral response. Now it happens on average once a week so I'm sort of over it. I meta moderate replies to my posts just as I would any other post except when some AC is cowardly insulting me and someone seems to think this is funny. Actually, that's what I do with my moderation points when I get them too, go find someone being antisocial and take away his +1 funny.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Mene Mene Tekel Slashdotin | 36 comments (22 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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