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Technocrat.net going down!

By Signal 11 in MLP
Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:25:37 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Bruce Perens is closing Technocrat.net. More information is available on the site. "I recommend that readers move to kuro5hin.org." -- Bruce Perens


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Technocrat.net going down! | 17 comments (13 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Perhaps... (3.54 / 11) (#1)
by 11223 on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 01:57:11 PM EST

It's because he couldn't keep his grubby little hands off of the comments? Most other sites get along fine without that sort of thing, but Perens couldn't seem to grasp that the site admin doesn't really need to go in and cut up people's comments.

Sorry, this is just sweet justice to me. Nobody will read a site with an admin who deletes comments like he did.

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

That's kind of harsh (4.00 / 10) (#5)
by rusty on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 02:09:43 PM EST

Bruce's goal was not to have a totally open forum. It was to encourage clueful discussion about tech law and policy. So he did, from time to time, edit comments, and all comments (IIRC) were reviewed before posting. That was part of the rules, and he never claimed otherwise.

Now, you could be right that people were turned off by this, and didn't post much as a result. Who knows. But "sweet justice" is a bit mean. Besides which, I don't think you're right that his editorial policy was the reason for the decline. I think it's more likely that he just doesn't have time to nurture the site as much as it needs. Regardless, Technocrat often featured the most clueful information about tech law and policy I've found on the net, so I wouldn't consider it a failure. I'll miss it, anyway.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well... (4.00 / 6) (#7)
by 11223 on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 02:36:16 PM EST

It was part of the rules, I admit. It was his site and he should do as he pleases with it, and he did. I'm not speaking of isolated instances - there were times when there were entire threads that were simply deleted by Bruce. While it is his site, it seems a bit tyrannical to do that - let most of the site take care of itself, and handle only the abusers. That's why I have no sympathy - if he took a more "hands off" approach to the site, perhaps he wouldn't have to shut it down for lack of *his* time.

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

could be (3.50 / 6) (#8)
by rusty on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 02:43:11 PM EST

You might be right. Historically, heavily moderated discussion sites have tended to be less interesting than un- or lightly-moderated ones. I wonder if anyone has any real information comparing the two? It would seem though, that if high signal was your overall goal, moderating everything would be an easy way to get that. Of course, then all you get is what the moderator considers signal, which may tend to restrict the audience quite a lot. Thorny issue.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
re: Could Be (2.00 / 4) (#9)
by Ratnik on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:06:00 PM EST

Let's see, deleted the 90% of the comments on Kuro5hin that are trolls, idle comments, no redeeming value to the discusion, or just against your point of view and see how long it lasts.

[ Parent ]
Don't know about that (4.00 / 4) (#12)
by kmself on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:42:12 PM EST

For general-discussion sites, maybe.

In the case of topic-specific discussions, though strong moderation can be very effective. CNI-COPYRIGHT is a mailing list devoted to copyright and IP law issues. The former moderator left the organization running the list, rather suddenly, last summer, and traffic stopped dead. Apparently the rest of the organization had no idea what he was doing or the importance of it. A new moderator has been working the list, but results are very inconsistant, with posts coming through in bursts several times a week, and with poor filtering of what are and aren't appropriate posts.

I think the point is less that moderation is or isn't harmful, and more that appropriate moderation is hard to do. Scoop, moderation, and Mojo are a rough cut at getting this right, and seem to do a decent job, most of the time. Better than other automated systems I've seen. However, real intelligence can't be overrated.

I suspect a mix of time, possible HP pressures (though I tend to discount the view), and just a general lack of compelling reasons and connectedness at Technocrat. Bruce does tend to get involved in a lot of things. He's brilliant when he can commit an appropriate amount of energy to something. And I'm thrilled with the K5 endorsement.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Well... (2.66 / 3) (#13)
by trhurler on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:41:46 PM EST

While I personally am not nearly as enchanted with Perens as many people apparently are, I can't say that I really care what he did with his web site. It was, after all, his. Sweet justice would be the day he figures out that he isn't worth all the attention he's received - he's got a real big mouth, and he parrots the open source free information we're the rulers of a brave new world party line really, really well, but, like esr, he's a big mouth with not much else to back him up. Author and/or maintainer of a package or two that nobody cares about, writer of papers that everyone pretends are important, yadda yadda. I haven't done much open source stuff, but at least I don't pretend to be a bulwark of "the movement." Ever notice that the real movers and shakers aren't out hounding publicity?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
HP said no? (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by sugarman on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 02:24:23 PM EST

warning: Idle speculation follows.

I find it curious that his site is shutting down so recently after Bruce accepted a position with HP. If the site was low traffic, there was nothing preventing him from leaving it there. If he didn't have the time, he could move it towards a user-directed model like here.

So why is the site shutting down after he accepted the new post? Did HP feel there might be a conflict of interest? How closely is Bruce following the corporate jingle?

Of course, the above is pure speculation. Just the first thing that leapt into my mind when I saw the article.

--sugarman--

What part of "didn't have the time"... (4.28 / 7) (#11)
by jeffg on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 03:16:56 PM EST

What part of "didn't have the time" do you not understand? ;-)

If he didn't have the time, he could move it towards a user-directed model like here.

Just ask the folks responsible for this site being a user-directed model how much time it didn't take for them to get things going and maintain things.

Look! It's magic! Site-in-a-box! Just add Rusty!*

* - Additional ingredients required. See box for details.



[ Parent ]
He really had no time! (none / 0) (#17)
by tftp on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:05:45 PM EST

Looks to me like BP never actually had time to maintain Technocrat.net. Stories were posted from time to time, usually just few per week. This could not attract a lot of readership, which in turn led to longer delays, which ... etc.

Additional obstacle was the required level of discussion. There were very, very few trolls - who would want to troll on a moderated weblog? Serious, older people, however, have not that much free time to waste chatting online.

Another big problem was impossibility to trace discussions in threads. On /. for example all comments are stored for a while and follow-ups are linked; this way it is easy to see what response I get and to reply in timely manner. I actually made a small Perl script to poll the front page of Technocrat, parse and diff it to the last saved snapshot, and if there are changes in watched threads then an email was sent to me.

Technocrat was good while it lasted. Let's see what K5 is about :-)

[ Parent ]

Does Bruce read this site? (none / 0) (#14)
by enterfornone on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:23:32 PM EST

I've seen him on Slashdot quite a bit but I don't think I've ever seen him post here. I can understand him not suggesting readers move to /. but why here?

Not that I'm complaining or anything.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Yabut.. (none / 0) (#15)
by zantispam on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:25:18 PM EST

would that be .Bruce Perens, Bruce Perens., BrucePerens, Bruce_Perens, Bruce.Perens or Bruce Perens asking his folowers to go to slashdot?

See a problem? :-)



Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]
You forgot a few (none / 0) (#16)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:53:55 PM EST

Bruce Parens, among others.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Technocrat.net going down! | 17 comments (13 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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