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Slashdot Blackout begins today

By mbrubeck in Media
Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:23:59 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

Feeling undervalued by the management of Slashdot, a group of users plans to stop posting comments for one week. They hope to show the editors the true importance of reader-contributed comments to Slashdot's success.

Rho, the instigator of this plan, is calling it The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout. T(H)GSB will last for the 21st through 27th of April. There is a FAQ explaining rho's motives, and an ongoing discussion in the Slashdot journal area. Many readers support the protest; others are playing along just out of curiousity. Some detractors feel that it is a childish prank, or that it is doomed to fail as new writers step in to fill the gaps left by blackout participants.

The blackout was inspired by CmdrTaco's assertion that "half of readers don't care" about discussion on Slashdot. The latest in a string of statements deriding the importance of user comments, this quote was based on statistics showing that only a small percentage of Slashdot viewers read comments, even those with high moderation scores. Rho counters, "While I do not doubt the validity of the numbers, I seriously doubt the validity of his extrapolation of the data. The ebb and flow of a community cannot be read from the tea leaves of an Apache log file."

I'm skeptical that rho's plan can attract enough participation to make a dent in the thousands of Slashdot comments posted each day, or that CmdrTaco would change his attitude even if it did. Nevertheless I am fascinated by the attempt to rally the readership around a notion of community grander than the founder and editors will acknowledge. If it is successful -- or even if it is not -- the Blackout could be an important step toward Slashdot readers and editors' awareness of their respective contributions to the site.


Voxel dot net
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Related Links
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o stop posting comments for one week
o ongoing discussion
o Also by mbrubeck

Display: Sort:
Slashdot Blackout begins today | 93 comments (73 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
Boycott "The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Black (4.46 / 13) (#6)
by weeeeeww on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 02:55:36 AM EST

Interestingly enough, there's also a movement to boycot this 'boycott' of /.

ah yes... (3.60 / 5) (#7)
by weeeeeww on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 03:00:02 AM EST

unsure of myself I spelt 'boycott' in two different ways. Silly me.


[ Parent ]
Spelling of 'boycott' subconscious back-formation? (4.00 / 4) (#38)
by pin0cchio on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:02:36 PM EST

unsure of myself I spelt 'boycott' in two different ways

Did I just see a back-formation in action? It looked like "boycot" for the verb and "boycott" (past participle) for the noun.

[ Parent ]
I partly agree with CmdrTaco, but... (2.87 / 8) (#9)
by krogoth on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 03:26:48 AM EST

I am starting to ignore most of the high-rated comments even when I do look at the comments page, but for what it's worth I'm participating in this because I find the editorial quality to be very poor.
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
Data validity for its application? (4.20 / 15) (#13)
by Mysidia on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 03:57:59 AM EST

The blackout was inspired by CmdrTaco's assertion that "half of readers don't care" about discussion on Slashdot. The latest in a string of statements deriding the importance of user comments, this quote was based on statistics showing that only a small percentage of Slashdot viewers read comments, even those with high moderation scores.

So a weblog's front page has far more hits than that of its stories combined? This is to be expected... anyone viewing any comments hits the front page several times in passing through... (Who knows, K5 might have similar statistics, if you scale things proportionally)

Also you have consider people who see the front page, don't see anything interesting, and go away.

It's also easy to "lie" with simple totalling, or rather, to find statistics that can be used to justify whatever you want to say, because they fail to capture certain details. In particular, i'm concerned on: what statistics are being referred to that showed this -- that is, what exactly was measured? In what manner, and with what techniques were they measured? How were the results aggregated?

Potential error spot: Number of hits on the front page in no way indicates how many people read it.

It would be quite easy to collect statistics that only state the obvious (ie: The pages that everyone has to pass through get the most hits)

-Mysidia the insane @k5
Detailed Perl scripts can do lots of things (3.83 / 6) (#22)
by avocadia on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:11:01 AM EST

So a weblog's front page has far more hits than that of its stories combined? This is to be expected... anyone viewing any comments hits the front page several times in passing through... (Who knows, K5 might have similar statistics, if you scale things proportionally)

Do you think it's possible the Slashdot people are doing something a little more significant than totalling the number of page views? Logs do record IP addresses these days. Is it possible that they count the number page views by distinct IP addresses?

[ Parent ]
An ip address does not equate to a user. (3.66 / 3) (#42)
by Mysidia on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:55:41 PM EST

An ip address equates to a computer assigned an address, in many cases a point-to-point connection where the ip address will be assigned to many other users -- also, users behind corporate (or other) firewalls will all use the same ip address.

Speculation as to what a perl script could do is no answer to what it does.

Even going by distinct ip address does not guarantee unique hits, it makes it so that a larger percentage of the hits totalled are unique.

But it is not very useful to increase the accuracy of data by an amount that you are unable to analyze.

Hit counts could be used to predict traffic, but it is a mistake to try to assign a meaning to numbers that do not have that meaning.

-Mysidia the insane @k5+SN
[ Parent ]
Automated newsgatherers (3.66 / 3) (#34)
by gidds on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:28:44 AM EST

Many automated headline grabbers (such as MacReporter) read the front page at regular intervals to discover any new stories; these would also push up the ratio of front-page-to-story-page views considerably.

[ Parent ]
Slashdot's RSS feed (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by pin0cchio on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:56:30 AM EST

Many automated headline grabbers (such as MacReporter) read the front page at regular intervals to discover any new stories

No, they read Slashdot's RSS feed. It's easier to parse than Slashdot's convoluted and half-broken HTML.

[ Parent ]
k5 vs /. (4.40 / 5) (#53)
by eudas on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:54:25 PM EST

the problem is, slashdot is basically a big MLP section. K5 has so much more than that, and many articles are interesting enough that you read the article. slashdot's "articles" are really a bit of blurb with links to other places. So really you can only compare (in my mind at least) k5 MLP section vs slashdot.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
An Analysis: The Dynamic of Fans vs Franchise (4.60 / 23) (#17)
by Seth Finkelstein on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:45:16 AM EST

[This is adapted from comments I made in a Slashdot discussion]

Following Slashdot comment angst is becoming a guilty pleasure of mine. This issue is a pretty standard conflict. It can be seen with any big franchise which has dedicated fans. The people involved in producing the franchise often do care deeply about the fans, in at least a marketing way. But they also know that the hard-core fans are nowhere as important to the business as those fans think they are, and sometimes harbor a contempt for those hard-core fans. Not every franchise employee does this. But there's a perfect example by Michael Sims ( "...kids like FortKnox who live on Slashdot (713 comments, christ!) need to get out more.") which illustrates that dynamic, the get-a-life snarl.

The fans think (over-optimistically) "If it wasn't for us, for what we spend on the franchise, it wouldn't be in business!". It's true at certain gross level (but it's not true for any particular fan). But they are then very sensitive to remarks denigrating them, especially against a background of perceived arrogance and overbearing. This isn't to say Rob Malda's not a good guy. But Slashdot looks very different from "down below", and sometimes those "up above" don't understand that difference.

So, a sincere franchise worker says: "Fans, I don't understand. We read your letters. We devote a lot of time to tours and events and conventions. What do you want? Should we not watch the ratings? Should we not care about making a profit? Do we have to tell you every show how wonderful you are?"

The particular issue here is about hard-core fans feeling disrespected. It's a fairly subtle one. "Respect us!" cry the hard-core fans. "We are the heart and soul [of the franchise]!" Any reply along the lines of "We do respect you ... as a market" isn't going to reply to that feeling.

The hard-core fans are saying they want to be respected as producers of value
The franchise employees too often reply that they respect them as consumers of product

Note I'm NOT endorsing the feeling of disrespect. But if someone wants to know what this is all about, I think the above dynamic is the answer.
-- Seth Finkelstein

For an example of the "get a life snarl" (4.57 / 14) (#47)
by Kasreyn on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:14:42 PM EST

...look no further than William Shatner. He treats hardcore ST fans ("trekkies") with open contempt and has for many years. Of course, this could be his understandable annoyance that what was formerly a wide-ranging, serious acting career was reduced to "that guy who plays Captain Kirk". He once jeered at trekkies on national TV, "Get a job! Move out of your parents' basement!" (paraphrased). Nimoy has commented on his problems with typecasting, also. In a way, ST both made AND ruined their acting careers.

I've noticed the same thing everywhere that a thing becomes popular: the makers of that thing have a certain affectionate (sometimes not so affectionate) contempt for their biggest fans. Sometimes this is because their familiarity with the thing they make breeds contempt, thus contempt for its fans. After all, would one feel the same magic and joy about, say, Walt Disney World if you were one of the cast members? It'd just be a job. You'd see the hidden parts, the dirt, the boredom; you'd probably come to resent the happy people coming to the resort to have fun.

And don't EVEN get me started on the shabby way Wizards of the Coast has treated us old school Magic players. =P


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
And another example (4.25 / 4) (#54)
by mbrubeck on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 03:31:45 PM EST

In Word Freak (a really great book about competitive Scrabble players), the author writes about the championship-level players' attempts to get corporate recognition and sponsorship for tournaments. They feel that they are the lifeblood of the game of Scrabble, while from Hasbro's point of view they are a small band of fanatics whom most Scrabble players have never heard of. It fits exactly into Seth's dynamic.

[ Parent ]
Mission drift (4.90 / 11) (#58)
by sigwinch on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:46:58 PM EST

This issue is a pretty standard conflict. It can be seen with any big franchise which has dedicated fans.
It's more than just that. The Slashdot founders used to be fans themselves. No, not just fans, but instigators of the revolution. Famous and influential people like Alan Cox and Bruce Perens used to frequent the comments and make it a cool, interesting place. Tom Christiansen's comment on the death of W. Richard Stevens article was one of the most heartfelt, moving things I've seen on the Internet, and went a long way towards salvaging that debacle.

The problem is that Rob & company's system didn't scale, and they didn't bother trying to make it scale. They stopped posting. They didn't try to grow professionally and do things like recruit authors or learn to use a spellchecker. They started recycling the same lame OSS/anti-M$/geek-angst crap over and over and over and over again. They didn't manage Jon Katz as editors, but let him post the same incoherent drivel over and over.

Instead of building a proper web-of-trust system to improve comment quality, they tacked on a poorly-conceived karma system that punishes people for discussing unusual things or putting in a little strategic topic drift, and rewards them for recycling the OSS-is-good-Microsoft-made-the-baby-Jesus-cry party line. Naturally everyone left. When's the last time Cox or Wall or Christiansen or Perens posted something? A long time ago. That's the real proof of my position: if there was no reason to be there, then the busy skilled experts wouldn't have been there in the first place so they could leave later.

And now they say the discussions are a ghetto. Well no shit, they *made* them a ghetto and drove away everything that was cool and exciting about participating in the site. Now it's just a money machine: post the same old stories, turn the crank, in flows advertising dollars.

Now, there's nothing wrong with advertising, and nothing wrong with news tidbits, but Rob & co. are saying that the discussions are inconsequential which is ludicrous. The discussions are what built the site and made it work. VA Research bought them precisely because they were the premier coffee house/pub of the open source community. Slashdot was to be the political arm of the OSDN empire.

And this isn't just sour grapes from an old-time fan. What I used to value in Slashdot could still exist, if they wanted it to. Communities should get more vibrant and interesting as they get larger.

I don't blame them for being burned out and just wanting to make a living running a news site. It's just that insulting the discussions is a big slap in the face to all the people who helped make them what they are today.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Hard-Core Fans Do Matter for Weblogs? (3.50 / 2) (#80)
by Argel on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:44:04 PM EST

It can be seen with any big franchise which has dedicated fans. The people involved in producing the franchise often do care deeply about the fans, in at least a marketing way. But they also know that the hard-core fans are nowhere as important to the business as those fans think they are, and sometimes harbor a contempt for those hard-core fans.
Yet if the hard-core fans are the ones making the majority of the best comments then they are in effective part of the franchise. This of course assumes that good comments can make or break a weblog.

[ Parent ]
Hey, that's me! (5.00 / 2) (#85)
by FortKnox on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:14:55 AM EST

I'm the "get a life snarl" recipient.

<RANT> All I can say is I have had an account for a looong time and write a comment or two everyday. Yeah, I accumulated quite a few posts, but a.) I'm not a kid and b.) do not need to get out more. I have a nice engineering degree, a full time job, a wife (pregnant with our first child), active in my church, with outdoor hobbies (fishing especially). Get out more? Puh-leeze.

Seriously now, though. When told that we want editors... to edit... Taco replied "it wouldn't be slashdot, then."
I laughed out loud reading this. This is a site that HAMMERS on Microsoft for making a faulty product. Now they want us to pay for slashdot, when they are, in fact, providing a 'faulty' product.
When I purchase something, I expect to recieve the best product for my money. A content site that provides information as the product that has BLATANTLY come out as saying "we WILL NOT check for multiple stories, and we WILL NOT check or spelling/grammar" I find it hypocritical. I hate to call the editor's lazy, for I don't know what they're job entails (they assure everyone its not simply "clicking add story" to good submissions), but if they have time to abuse infinite moderation points, they have time to spell check, grammar check, and check for repeat stories.

Whatever happened to the "if you get paid for a job, do it 110%"??
Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
[ Parent ]
What? (3.22 / 9) (#18)
by YesNoCancel on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:45:42 AM EST

<Professor Farnsworth Mode>There are STILL people who read Slashdot? IMPOSSIBLE!</Professor Farnsworth Mode>

this will be interesting to watch (2.62 / 8) (#19)
by tomte on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:54:49 AM EST

Allthough the story is /. centric I think an undertaking as Rhos could have been aroused at any user-participating website; size may matter, though.
+1 fp, this will be interesting to watch...
Funny. There's a brightness dial on the monitor, but the users don't get any smarter.
It's a story about slashdot! (3.25 / 4) (#55)
by Sc00tz on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:57:38 PM EST

So of course it's /. centric.. That's like saying any story about -insert subject here- is -insert subject here- centric.

-- http://scootz.net/~travis
[ Parent ]

Not about /. (3.33 / 3) (#67)
by tomte on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 02:34:50 AM EST

but about people trying to cope with behaviour on -insert your blog here-.
It is 'by accident' happening on /., and I wrote the post you replied to, to all the '/., go away evil demon' people on k5 to notice this.
Funny. There's a brightness dial on the monitor, but the users don't get any smarter.
[ Parent ]
I never read Slashdot.. (3.66 / 6) (#20)
by bojo on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:59:14 AM EST

Mainly because of the user comments, and what I considered to be poor stories with links to information I was already reading throughout the day anyways.

I have to reflect the scenario upon k5 in my mind though. The main reason I enjoy reading articles here, is because they are intelligently written, and the comments that follow are also written in the same manner. Both of which offer different points of views that I have never considered on the topic at hand.

I'm 50/50 about which way to rate this story. Part of me is interested in the outcome, but I have to ask myself if I really care. I think in the end, not caring about /. wins, due to lack of interest in the site itself.

Thanx (2.18 / 11) (#23)
by elshafti on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:14:35 AM EST

i'll go and post some garbage just to make up for the loss of 2 users.

I think I am learning to give up on the tragedy of not attaining perfection. -Persimmon

Slashdot's stories (2.53 / 13) (#25)
by Cro Magnon on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:48:22 AM EST

are not worth reading! The comments are the ONLY thing that matters! Taco is an idiot! However, I think this "blackout" will be a joke. Most Slashdotters will ignore it, perhaps give it lip service and post anyway. Taco will take this as "proof" that he's right.
Information wants to be beer.
Speaking Personally .. (4.23 / 13) (#26)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:02:58 AM EST

I still read /.'s front page, and the odd section, and some of the linked articles, because it saves me the effort of reading the four or five sources from which they now get almost all of their stories. I no longer read most comments and very rarely post, because the level of most of the commentary just proves that out of any given 600,000 people, most of them are going to be unoriginal, opinionated, closed to new ideas, and dull, regardless of the field they work in. The moderation system is little better than sorting the comments in order to posting, because inevitably the high rated comments are just the first few to have been posted. Looking for good, thoughtful comments inevtiably means looking through all the 1s, 2s and 3s, which takes much too long.

If we compare that with the old days, when /. only had a few thousand users, what was posted was an ecclectic mix with a geeky kind of bias, and many of the comments were vaguely interesting. When the article was crap, the comments generally pointed out the errors. These days, many erroneous /. articles get posted without any of the high rated comments correcting them. K5 still functions much the way /. used to (although with a different story profile), partly because the moderation and editorial systems are better, but mostly because there are less users here.

So: I think the blackout people have point, but major surgery of some kind is required to fix /.'s comment system. Taco is also right that very few users read the comments, but I don't think he understands why. I won't be joining the blackout because I doubt anyone would notice.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
Article corrections (4.16 / 6) (#33)
by J'raxis on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:09:47 AM EST

There are always dozens of comments correcting article mistakes. But, since Slashdot has Editors with unlimited mod points, these comments are down at -1, not +5.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

re: moderated comments (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:07:07 PM EST

I find that alterslash.org's comment selection algorithm works great. Generally don't need more comments than that, to give a few extra viewpoints on a topic. I used to browse there, and participate in discussion, but that was over 18 months ago; see, I never trust the moderator groupthink (and with good reason), and browse at -1, but the amount of crap at -1 got above my ability to cope.

[ Parent ]
I use alterslash and... (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:03:31 PM EST

... the friend/foe system. I've been pretty open in giving people friend status, often for only one well made post (agreed with or not), and then I give them a big bonus in my filter (+4 these days, I think). This has greatly helped the signal:noise, and by 'greatly' I mean that reading /. is a whole different experiance than it used to be. Like a whole different site.

[ Parent ]

Hilarious (2.14 / 21) (#27)
by spottedkangaroo on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:39:49 AM EST

This is hilarius. There's a small group of /. readers that are the biggest cry babies in the whole wide world. I'm going to show all my friends how stupid they can be ... simply by giving them this link.

Very useful contribution to the discussion (3.66 / 9) (#44)
by Ben Welsh on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:59:45 PM EST

This is a good example of why I don't bother posting or reading comments on Slashdot.

Christianity Meme
[ Parent ]
slight (none / 0) (#89)
by spottedkangaroo on Sat Apr 27, 2002 at 10:24:07 AM EST

because you're one of the people that think /. is broken and I some how slighted you by calling the boycotter's crybabies?

[ Parent ]
No.... (none / 0) (#90)
by Ben Welsh on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 01:30:48 PM EST

Because I don't consider calling them stupid babies to be worthwhile reason to post. Unlike some of the other jerks that seep into K5, you couldn't even manage to give any real reasons or make any real arguement as to why you felt the need to insult them like a gradeschooler.

Christianity Meme
[ Parent ]
stated (2.00 / 1) (#91)
by spottedkangaroo on Wed May 01, 2002 at 09:59:39 AM EST

I simply stated that I thouht they were funny.

If you think I need to justify why I think something is funny, maybe you should go ahead and post all of the reasons why a post is worth posting so I can start following your dumbass rules?

My bets are you were just worked up cuz you're one of the crybabies.

[ Parent ]

Took them long enough (4.67 / 28) (#28)
by localroger on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:40:44 AM EST

Slashdot was the first place I ever participated in web discussion, and this was when it was already big enough to have "gone to the dogs" according to a lot of people. Yet it was fun and informative and I spent a lot of time reading the comments.

I submitted several stories, and never received so much as a how-do-you-do. Oh well, I figured, the proprietors are busy.

One day someone posted a link to K5, and I wandered over. What an elegant idea -- let the users edit the site. K5 joined /. in my bookmark file, along with very few other sites.

I still check /. every day or two because they catch a few news items I'd otherwise miss. But I've gradually stopped reading the comments and posting.

The striking thing about /. is that a site with actual paid employees and ad revenue and corporate backing manages to be so lame. They post erroneous articles, the post moderation system has broken down completely, they are intolerant of well-deserved criticism, and the attitude that they are God's gift to the g33k community shines through in everything they do.

On top of this they want me to add content which will be buried in a sea of trolls and goatse.cx, wade through the sea of trolls and goatse.cx rating up the other guys who bother to try, and let's not forget I should also metamoderate to make sure the trolls aren't trolling the badly broken moderation system. And if I submit a story, I might as well be sending it to dev/null.

I think the boycotters are right; /. has a severe attitude problem. I don't think the boycott will fix it though. In a sense the boycott has been going on for a long time. It's just now that the few remaining non-participants have thought of joining.

I can haz blog!

news sources (4.60 / 5) (#43)
by highenergystar on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:55:53 PM EST

on the note that you go to slashdot to read headlines that you would otherwise miss..try memigo.com, i think its run by a member of k5(not sure) it uses something similar to amazon's book/similarity rating system (which I think is verycool) and presents news articles from topics that might interest you. I have been reading this and on average catching headline about a week before sashdot, and a lot of stuff /. doesnt cover even. and if you want to read the . there's a link to the discussion (if it's been posted at the .
try it, you just might like it

[ Parent ]
Another great news source (4.75 / 4) (#46)
by John Miles on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:08:33 PM EST

Try NewsLinx if you haven't already. Great "headline aggregator" site. You don't tend to miss much if you check NewsLinx once or twice a day.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]
Not all the fresh news (4.00 / 3) (#69)
by rhdntd on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:18:43 AM EST

I looked at that site, and it appears OK, but FreshNews is my homepage. I removed /. from my version and I don't think I'm missing anything.

I'd join in the boycot but I don't think I could take the change. I haven't even loaded the /. front page in a couple months, so I don't want to go back to doing that.

"book chicks really seem to like anal"
  — Lady 3Jane
[ Parent ]

By the way. (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by kwsNI on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:15:10 PM EST

K5 has the /. RDF on your Display Preferences page. That's the only time I read /. is when there's a catchy article (about once every couple weeks).

And my story is very similiar to yours. I found this place through Slashdot and left about the time Taco put in the Karma cap.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

Comments (4.00 / 4) (#32)
by dTd on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:09:35 AM EST

The only time I ever read comments on /. is if the subject seems interesting and I don't have any knowledge of the topic. I briefly look through the comments to discover what it may be they are talking about. The comments are totaly unimportant otherwise. Not so here where the subjects are much more political in nature and the comments are a good way of getting and idea of what people from different locations think. I've had a television blackout for 7 years now, I don't read newspapers or magazines. I get 100% of my news from the net from sites like this one, /. and others so the comments also give me a clue to what the mainstream is advocating these days.

Perl 6 will give you the big knob - Larry Wall

Why I stopped reading. (4.11 / 9) (#35)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:40:26 AM EST

It's interesting, the reason why I stopped reading slashdot is that participation in the discussion became completely unbearable.

I'm really not suprised that people are paying less attention to the comments, but Malda's an idiot if he thinks that it's because it's the will of the public. I would pay more attention if there was more than 7 comments among 300 that I'd care to read.

It's like so much church.

farq will not be coming back
the only use for comments... (3.00 / 5) (#36)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:55:35 AM EST

is in the hope that someone will correct the editor's stupidity. This usually happens 90% of the time.

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

dumb (3.33 / 3) (#40)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:09:35 PM EST

So in a 100% article the comments are flat out useless? That's the dumbest thing I've heard this week, I think.
That statement can only be true if the author of the article in question is 100% correct and the subject at hand can only be viewed from one perspective, or if the author has covered each and every possible angle in the article in question. I could go on, but, in short the author would have to be some sort of omnipotent god for the comments on the article in question to be redundant.
And even _if_ the Lord, all mighty (for those of you who believe in him), were to write an essay on the creation of life, I would _still_ value views and questions posted in the comments underneath.

Once again, that statement of yours was utterly and completely releaved of reason and logic.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
Correction (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 12:11:25 PM EST

The first sentence should read:
So in a 100% correct article the comments are flat out useless?

Nothing else

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
uhm... (4.00 / 4) (#48)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:18:48 PM EST

Actually I was commenting on how the editors tend to insert their own badly misinformed lines on the front page about whatever they're posting.

Often looking in the comments someone will 'correct' the issue.

I think I can safely say that the vast majority of comments under an article are by Idiots (tm), Paranoids, and Trolls. Occasionally someone will post something relevant and interesting, but its a long shot.

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

How I read Slash (4.54 / 11) (#45)
by snowfox on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:03:42 PM EST

I read slash as follows --
1. My view mode is set to only show comments with a value of 5.
2. In user preferences, funny receives a -1 moderation value, redundant +1, offtopic +1, informative +1, troll +1, friends +4, anonymous coward +2.
3. My slashdot bookmark is http://slashdot.org/search.pl?threshold=4&min=0&op=stories&start=50 so I start with stories that are already 2-3 days old.
4. When I see the same names repeatedly moderated up to a 5 level, I'll add them to my friend list so I'm more likely to see their postings.
The moderation values ensure that any post which had been bumped up to 5 then taken down by a single dissenting moderator still appears on my +5. They also ensure that I don't see "funny" posts, which usually mean "ha ha Microsoft is bad" (we already know) or "In joke repetition!" (thanks).

Some noise still makes it through, but the signal to noise ratio is an order of magnitude better this way. These days, my daily Slash fix takes all of ten minutes, including time spent scanning the articles.

still miss stuff (4.20 / 5) (#51)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:48:20 PM EST

That seems like too much effort to make the system work, and I would bet that you still miss good comments. I personally have a philosophy of all or nothing - either I read every coherent comment, and decide for myself, or I leave the site. Thanks for the tips though, I put them in my /. prefs, in case I ever visit there again;)

[ Parent ]
Funny comments (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by juju2112 on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:36:01 AM EST

Funny comments get -3 from me. Since my threshold is 2, I only see +5 funny comments, and those are changed to +2 and moved to the end of the discussion. I don't need my brain dulled right off the bat like that..

[ Parent ]
Curiously enough (3.33 / 3) (#57)
by Joh3n on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:21:03 PM EST

If one wanders over to \. right now....(clickety-click......scroll....back arrow), it does appear that the number of comments are down.

I hadn't given much of a probability to the blackout doing much of anything. In fact, I just assumed that the AC armada might ramp up the crap for a week.


You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came.

Comments are usually low on weekends (4.00 / 4) (#59)
by Wateshay on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:52:37 PM EST

We'll really have to wait until tomorrow to see if there is any noticable dent in traffic.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."

[ Parent ]
I cant (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by FredBloggs on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:44:06 AM EST

say i`ve noticed any difference at SlashDot this week. Seems ok to me. What effect do the boycotters hope they`ll have again? Bring it to its knees? Or just provide slightly faster access for the 99.9% of users who arent boycotting it? I doubt most users there even know theres a boycott!

[ Parent ]
Well.... (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by Joh3n on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:39:11 PM EST

I would have chalked it up to that, but there seemed to be a few FP stories there that seemed too good not to at least get 100+ M$ bashing posts going.

Time will tell....either way, it's an interesting game to watch.

You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came.

I'm participating (3.83 / 6) (#61)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:11:15 PM EST

I'm participating in the Slashdot blackout. I still read and post there, but I am sick of the steady flow of crap from CmdrTaco and the editors. I guess you could call it pointless - after all I like K5 more and participate here more.. why don't I just stop going to Slashdot? Because there are still people here who say "This is a story for that other site." Nothing wrong with this, they're 2 different sites.

I'm interested in the Linux stuff, the MPAA stuff, and the 'gee-whiz' technology news you'll find there. So why stop visiting? The editors have pissed off enough readers to elicit a reaction - here's what pissed me off:

  • The "first slashdot troll post" moderation-fest - this perfectly demonstrated how immature and hypocritical the editors could be. CmdrTaco was at once expressing his desire to not censor anyone, and at the same time blatantly meddling with other people's posts and user status.
  • Big ads have become more annoying, yet editorial quality stays low. Many people over there have posted "This is why I will not subscribe" when they post misleading, duplicate, or simply dumb stories. The editors' write-ups are often inane and misspelled.. they are days late on big news (inexplicably rejecting a story many times before posting it late).
  • CmdrTaco's unabashed disdain for his own users. Users pay his salary, and at the same time he makes comments like the one that inspired the blackout.
I guess I have mixed feelings about it, but I am participating. I hope it does make a difference. I may put Slashdot down, but I haven't totally given up on the site yet. It used to be a good site, really. Is the blackout babyish? Maybe.. I certainly wouldn't pull that kind of thing over here, because I respect the editorial staff here. I do not respect Slashdot's editors, and I guess the blackout is a way of showing them that. If CmdrTaco bothered to respond to users' posts, I think there would be a lot fewer people participating.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
another downer (4.00 / 2) (#70)
by PigleT on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:40:14 AM EST

The main reason I've got pissed off with slashdot is that the luser-base is too silly to understand disagreement - instead, you get moderated down so you lose "karma points" (like I really care about that)...

I've got an alternative idea. Makefile, curl, xslt, chmod for web access, and run your *own* local copy of slashdot. That's what I was up on until 1am on Sunday morning doing - see my own listed site above if need be ;)
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]
The first Slashdot troll post investigation (4.75 / 4) (#72)
by bgarcia on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:12:27 AM EST

Here's the comment: linky

I was one of the unwitting plebs who moderated that comment as "interesting".

It turns out that everyone who moderated that comment up has had their moderation abilities permanently (and quietly) revoked. This also includes meta-modding.

I still read slashdot, but I'm liking it less and kuro5hin is growing on me more and more.

[ Parent ]

Interesting allegation (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by vryl on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:21:58 AM EST

What proof for this is there?

[ Parent ]
Proof. (5.00 / 3) (#78)
by bgarcia on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:26:22 PM EST

What proof for this is there?
Well, my account is setup saying that I wish to moderate, but I haven't been given the opportunity to moderate since that post.

Also, the meta-moderation link used to show up at the top of the page each day until I meta-modded. Now, it never shows up.

Let's see what else I can dig up...

Here's a comment from that same thread from someone who also reported this change: No more metamod?.

Here's a good one. From silort's journal: Moderators have lost Moderation Priveleges en masse

And I'll finish off with the Kuro5hin story that dealt with this whole issue: Trouble over at slashdot

[ Parent ]

anecdotal proof (none / 0) (#86)
by ucblockhead on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:19:43 PM EST

I had 278 karma. I got the moderation points every couple weeks. I moderated that +1, informative. I posted no replies and was otherwise completely inactive on slashdot that month. I've not gotten mod points since.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
If you want to really hurt Taco... (4.33 / 6) (#62)
by lordsutch on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:55:06 PM EST

A comment blackout won't bring Slashdot to its knees; what will is refusing to moderate and M2. The paid employees can't keep up with the crapflooding, and they depend on the users (through moderation and M2) to solve that problem for them.

I agree the good comments are what normally makes /. worthwhile, but if the boycott included refusing to participate in moderation (and therefore letting the warez d00dz moderate up the crap) Taco would probably get the message much more effectively.

Linux CDs. Schuyler Fisk can sell me long distance anytime.

Blackout is on reading comments too... (3.50 / 2) (#64)
by hackerhue on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:42:59 PM EST

...at least that's what Rho is doing. Since he's not reading comments, it's unlikely that he'll moderate either. He's not submitting stories either, which will be interesting since almost all the stories are submitted by readers. Today's front page doesn't seem to be much shorter than normal, though. On the other hand, I don't think /. ever had a problem with too few story submissions.

[ Parent ]
Heh (4.00 / 2) (#73)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:23:40 AM EST

Considering a lot of people who are boycotting lost moderation priveleges from the whole "First Troll Post Investigation," I don't think it will make much difference in the quality of moderation. It was crappy in the first place anyways, and noticably worse after the incident.

Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Mod points (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by xrayspx on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:20:17 PM EST

I'm bugged by that. I lost my status, I don't care particularly, but I still feel it was a worthwhile post to have. Worded differently it could have easily been a part of the /. FAQ. I generally would use my mod points, read at 0, pull stuff up that deserved it, etc. Just annoys me that they blanket-deny all those moderators and never address the issue ever again.

Not that I'm all broken up over it, again, it just irks me.

"I see one maggot, it all gets thrown away" -- My Wife
[ Parent ]
Yep (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by ArticulateArne on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:06:28 PM EST

That's what I'm doing. I was a pretty good moderator, I think. I would (almost) always switch the discussion to -1 or 0, new stuff first, and concentrated on promoting. I have no idea what my m2 score looked like, but it should have been good, as I only added to those posts that I knew deserved it. But, I made what turned out to be the error of modding the post of death, after which I got banned from m/m2. In my opinion, they lost a good moderator. I still post occasionally (and for that matter, I've also only posted when I had something real to add. I've had one post modded down in my life, besides a couple stupid 'overrateds', and that was when I replied to someone who was complaining about spellling, and made a grammatical error in their post), and my karma is good, but is has disillusioned me from the wonderland that slashdot used to be.

[ Parent ]
This just in (3.40 / 5) (#65)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:00:59 AM EST

This just in, Slashdot spoils tonight's episode of the X-Files on the front page! (and don't visit that link if you don't want to read it)

With nary a warning, Chrisd posted a story at 8:15 PM Pacific time revealing a crucial plot point in the X-Files. The story was posted BEFORE the episode had even aired on the West Coast. After realizing his error, he attached a half-assed apology to the story but neglected to take it down, change its revealing title, or add a spoiler warning.

Now, I haven't watched X-Files in years and I live on the East Coast where it has already aired. But, this is just another example of the site's poor editorial quality. And they're asking for money for this..

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

Generating more comments (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by camh on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 03:34:07 AM EST

Conspiracy theorists would say that they posted the spoiler on purpose to generate more comments, in order to hide the effect of the boycott.

[ Parent ]
Well.. (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by Sc00tz on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:31:59 PM EST

If you look at the comments on all the rest of the stories, they are MUCH lower then usual, the average is around 200 posts and except for the X-Files one, they're lucky if they reach 100 comments
-- http://scootz.net/~travis
[ Parent ]
Stupid. (3.20 / 5) (#71)
by FredBloggs on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:54:21 AM EST

"Feeling undervalued by the management of Slashdot, a group of users plans to stop posting comments for one week."


I will comply with the Great Slashdot Blackout... (3.50 / 4) (#77)
by cryon on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:49:17 PM EST

....because I want to get the message across that the moderation system is broken. I often post responses that reflect my political beliefs, and they are often modded down so low that they do not appear. It is unfair to mod down thoughtful responses that are politically incorrect.

But can the same thing not be said of K5? [n/t] (none / 0) (#92)
by valeko on Sun May 05, 2002 at 01:19:32 AM EST

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Slashdot subscription update. (2.75 / 4) (#79)
by hackerhue on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:42:13 PM EST

I think it's interesting that they're posting an update to their subscription system during the blackout. (Link just goes to the full story -- no comments -- for those who are participating in the blackout.) Conspiracy theories, anyone?

Comment within /. article (2.50 / 2) (#81)
by cvou on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 02:16:33 PM EST


I happened to find this comment within said article on slashdot..

Figured it might be of interest to some..

Is it possible to post an MLP comment? :)

[ Parent ]

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (4.40 / 5) (#82)
by lzcd on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 05:34:54 PM EST

Anybody remember the doorman strike in NY a few years ago?

Here's a tip for anybody planning to strike:

*Make sure people actually care about you do*

Slashdot has its good points but I have my doubts about whether anybody actually relies upon it... well not anymore than... say The National Enquirer.

Now if only the trolls, the braindead and those who disagree with me would leave. :)

CmdrTaco (1.50 / 2) (#87)
by zzzeek on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 02:48:08 PM EST

...is overly biased on many issues (and sometimes in contradictory fashions as well...), is unconcerned with the accuracy of the headlines he posts (factually, grammatically, supremely editorially biased), is arrogant, a careless sellout, and not nearly as bright as he would like to think.

So its only natural that the whole of his bulletin board is largely the same way.

blackout success (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by christfokkar on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 02:33:02 PM EST

First day of the blackout was actually pretty spectacular. The trolls came out in force and every discussion was 90% troll. It was impossible to get an honest word in. It was also funny as hell, trolls getting modded up left and right because it was simply unavoidable.

What I learned: resistance works when you are organized. But by the middle of the second day, momentum really slacked off. Now it's back to spitting into the wind...

I realize the blackout and the trollfest are actually two different things, but I doubt the blackout would have had much impact on its own.

who cares? (none / 0) (#93)
by /dev/trash on Mon May 06, 2002 at 04:47:51 PM EST

It's just the web. Rho etc, should get over themselves.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
Slashdot Blackout begins today | 93 comments (73 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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