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Bruce Perens's Journal: How Slashdot Made Me Famous :-) 8

Journal by Bruce Perens
I don't mean "famous" seriously, but I seem to have become somewhat well-known outside of traditional hacker circles. I try to use that to get our issues heard.

It came to me today that some of what drove me to become well-known outside of our little circle was frustration with Slashdot.

I used to post here a lot, and Slashdot was where I sent most of my bulletins first. Then I started to be frustrated with the editorial policies, submissions being nuked in favor of less important stuff, the AC and troll situation, etc. So, I consciously looked around for other venues in which to publish. First, I started Technocrat.net, which was good (and which I intend to make work again) but didn't pick up more than about 5000 readers. Then I started sending stuff to ZDnet. Surprisingly, ZDnet was much more willing to publish my stuff than Slashdot had been, especially since I didn't want to get paid. After a while, I shifted to their sister publication CNET News.com . I also sent some things to The Register and other publications. All were very willing to publish my stuff. It turned out that Slashdot was much more willing to link to stuff that I'd written on CNET than it was to accept my postings directly, not that it mattered as much once that content was on CNET. I guess that fits the format - I guess Slashdot doesn't want to be a producer of original material - they want to be an aggregator of stuff published elsewhere.

During this time, I was also doing a lot of things that drew attention. Forming a VC firm, working for HP, doing my gig with the W3C patent policy board, etc. Being widely read helped me get to do these things, and doing these things made me more widely read. The press started calling me, and I developed good relationships with a lot of reporters. When I left HP, I got a half-page in the New York Times print business section, with a big photo.

I probably wouldn't be getting all of this press were it not for Slashdot "pushing me out of the cradle". I'm not sure, however, that this was good for Slashdot.

Bruce

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How Slashdot Made Me Famous :-)

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  • Aggregators (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeanAhern (25764) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @06:29PM (#5098102) Journal
    I really hope the Slashdot editors^H^H^H^H^H^H^Haggregators read this post. While your journal entry isn't criticism, directly, it should make them think a lot more about how submissions are handled on Slashdot. Maybe it will make them think more about the content that they provide.

    Who knows. Maybe they have too much inertia at this point. Slashdot is devolving.

    It's difficult to think that they'd be willing to post an article by Jon Katz but not one by Bruce Perens, but there ya go.
  • If they didn't link to other people's articles, then who would suffer the /. effect? If we don't sacrafice websites to it on a regular basis, it might just decide that human souls are starting to look rather tasty, and I've seen it thrash sites, I'd hate to see what it would do to a couple of souls. I'd be like Hellraiser: Hell on Slashdot or something. Of course, then they would have to make the Freddy Vs. The /. Effect movie, and who really wants that?
  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @07:13PM (#5098406) Journal
    It makes quite a bit of sense if you spend some time thiking about it.

    They do not want to shoulder the responsibilty of being knowledgeable on technical subjects, and verifying authenticity. They wait until someone else has accepted that posibility, and then link to them.

    Not that I'd defend that strategy, but they are already successful, and doing a better job as editors isn't necessarily going to generate more revenue.

    They seem to be happy with their niche, and there's no reason to believe they would want to change.
  • Well, we can all see what Slashdot did for Jon Katz.

    Um... never mind.

  • I personally would like to subscribe to everything Bruce posts...

    Slashdot could make every submitted story post into that users Journal (if it's a logged in user) and then they could decide whether or not to post it to the main page.

    I try to post every submitted story into my journal but sometimes I forget.
    • That is actually a very good idea. The current state means that any article (or link to an article) that I submit gets canned without telling me. Finding out that the article was rejected is an adventure in itself.

      What I'd like to see is a message upon rejection that says "Your article [XXXX] was rejected by the editiors. Would you like to put this in your journal instead?" It could then have three buttons, "Yes" "No" and "Edit".
      • Finding out that the article was rejected is an adventure in itself.

        While I, too, think that the submission portion of Slashdot needs to be rewritten, you can easily see if a story you've submitted has been accepted or rejected. Just click on the "submit story" link on the left. It takes you to a page that shows all of your submissions and what their status is. Pretty easy.

        I wish I could see those posts, though. Sometimes I would like to retrieve a detail that I had put in there, but which had been rejected. And being able to see other people's submissions would be ideal.
  • thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Friday January 17, 2003 @11:11AM (#5101660) Journal

    It turned out that Slashdot was much more willing to link to stuff that I'd written on CNET than it was to accept my postings directly, not that it mattered as much once that content was on CNET. I guess that fits the format - I guess Slashdot doesn't want to be a producer of original material - they want to be an aggregator of stuff published elsewhere.

    Sure, publishing original material would require actually reading the links.

    Seriously though, if you submit something original, it just takes a single editor to not like the material or to just not feel like reading it. But if you publish it on CNET, they'll get submission after submission after submission of links. CmdrTaco has even admitted to accepting a submission on a story solely to stop the barrage of submissions on the topic.

    Thanks for quality, free (as in beer, unfortunately) content!

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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