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schlach's Journal: Community 5

Journal by schlach

So I just spent like an hour reading trolls' journals.

That's a different perspective. And I found out I've got something in common with them. We both wish slashdot's editors were more community-minded.

How the trolls and I agree on that one, I don't understand. But now I know why Rob got so pissed off at me when I was critical of their community-mindedness. Because he associates that viewpoint with his enemies.

A post on slashback asking why everyone was so quiet about changes. Timothy constantly repeating "And yet, here you are." Getting modded down to -1 for it. Priceless.

And yet I think his responses are pretty insightful as to the general editorial malaise. I will say this for him - he posts. (Posts more than I do. Jesus. You'd figure he'd have to get paid to do that.) But he's down here in the trenches with the rest of us.

Here's the journal entry I didn't post last night:
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Ok, so yesterday(? seems like longer ago..) I found out what happened to the old +1 karma bonus, that I'd been thinking about for a week or so. I posted a comment explaining it to everyone who might not know, and the process of figuring it out got me kind of upset that there still exists no place on slashdot where code changes are discussed.

This isn't to say that there is no place anywhere where one can go to figure it out. Usually reading Taco's journal will let you know what's been going on. You might not necessarily hear about everything that's been changed, or the reasons why, but it's better than nothing. And Rob will tell you the CVS is always current. There's also the SourceForge bugs / features mailing list, and the IRC chats. And of course, you can email him...

It's better than nothing, but I don't think it's much better. The changes that I was bothered about weren't mentioned or discussed anywhere. And even when they are, it's a notification of the changes that have happened, not a discussion of what should happen in the future.

And here's the difference between the way that Rob and I see Slashdot. I see the community and the discussion, he sees ... other things. Everything, maybe. Bleagh lemme quote:

You mention time limits. Delegate. A once-a-week discussion of changes by the person who's rolling them in, or your whenever-spaced journal entries about ...

I've tried. But these 'Once a week' things. Journals. IRC chats. Stories. To you they consume a few minutes. To me they easily can eat 2-3 days. A journal entry means dozens of emails. Suddenly everything I do becomes questioned. And I have to answer. If I don't, god forbid it means I'm abusing the oh-so-important Slashdot Community, and heaven forbid that happen. Nevermind the fact that I spend all day every day doing the best I can to balance the demands of that very community against the very real aspects of the limited number of hours we have of programmer time, writing time, sysadmin time, tech support time, CPU slices, DB IO Bus time etc etc etc.

I guess what it comes down to is it pisses me off when readers assume that the all important slashdot community is the end all be all of Slashdot. Yes, it is the most important part. But it can't exist without the hardware, software, man hours, and advertising needs that make it all happen.

And they like to assume that any time I make a choice that somehow negatively affects the users, that this signals Slashdot 'Jumping the Shark' or something.

It's horribly unfair. Slashdot readers don't see the countless times I say no to a ridiculous advertiser need. Sales contracts that we have to reject that could make our company money and could let us hire more help, but we say 'No' because the community wouldn't tolerate them.

I'm juggling here. Balancing. And you see only the tip of that iceberg.

Delegation doesn't work because there's nobody to delegate TO. It's just us.

Every action we do ripples outwards. A Journal Entry. Feedback. It bounces back on my lap and takes even more time. Not less.

This sucks. Slashdot has a quarter-million people in its community; there's no reason why we need to put every burden on Rob. I want a discussion of the features before they get rolled in; I should make it happen.

I don't have anything official, just this journal, but it's threaded, and can be moderated. That's all we need. So what I'm planning is to find out everything that has happened in the last week, and everything that will happen in the next week, and publish a write-up in my journal. I encourage everyone to discuss what's going on, along with what they like and don't like about the changes. People are already discussing what's going on, and how pissed they are about management - I just want to get it in one place, with a constructive goal. We can answer most people's questions ourselves, and hopefully provide them a format for feedback that will prevent them from needing to email Rob about everything to get some response to their questions. The most important feedback we'll pass along to Rob, and if people start moderating the discussion, it'll be that much easier for folks to read.
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And we'll invite everyone. Even the trolls. =)

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  • About those discussions. There is a place where you can have threaded discussions, on slashdot, that don't have to be in your journal. A quick peak on Timothy's site [monkey.org] gives you this [slashdot.org] link to a "hidden" (mostly unknown of) feature.
    User Created Discussions. You're welcome.
    • You're welcome.

      Thanks for the tip. I might still want to use my journal though, so that I can edit/update my posts.
      • I had an idea. You could make a new user (call him SlashBot or something) and then that could be your dedicated place to post such things. (In SlashBot's journal). Also, you could give out the password to other people (not to everyone) who you trust, to post things of interest. You could have the password change as to allow people to post one thing, and then not anymore, but that would be a PITA very soon.
        • Also, you could give out the password to other people (not to everyone) who you trust, to post things of interest.

          Would you be interested? I dunno, something like starting a slash-site within slashdot? =) Let me actually get to the investigating for this week's changes, post it up, see what kind of interest we get, and then we'll see whether it's something that multiple editors should be working on. Otherwise, everyone can just post in the forums =)
          • I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to ask a question *about* /. and either:

            Get modded down to -1
            Have ACs jump all over me.
            Get no email response.

            I've been checking Cmdr Taco's journal since the big changes to karma/moderation started and have been thoroughy disgusted with the lack of info. (That has at last improved.) It's pretty sad when I have to go to K5 to see what is going on here. Ironically, in my ever increasing frustration, I was thinking about posting to the user created discussions the other day about the very fact there is *no* discussion on /. about /. (I have a link to it in my 'user space' so I can see if someone has done that very thing...)

            I've been posting to /. for a little over a year; lurking for much longer, and there are still things that drive me nuts - bitchslapping threads that want to discuss what the hell is going on here. And no /. feature announcement/discussion: I tried emailing Cmdr Taco a few times with a new logo for the flag (I'm no coder, but I can make nice pics:), but no response was forthcoming. So I gave up.

            I'd hate to see /. crumble for lack of communication between the all-powerful Eds, and the users that make it worthwhile to read.

            I'm all for your idea - I just wonder how much cooperation you'll get from Taco. The impression that I have is that he is a, "If I want something done (right/my way) I will have to do it myself." kind of guy.

            My assumption may be wrong; he may just have way the hell too much to do, and not know how/who/why to delegate responsibilities.

            The rest of your journal entries are great! I have added you as a 'friend' so I may keep up on them.

            Time for sleep :)

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