The good news is Slashdot is still an interesting site to me, continues to evolve and is in active development. But the good news about Slashdot do not apply to Slashcode, Slashdot's open source engine. I'm the main manager of a small Slashcode-based website. Despite my enthusiasm, the truth is Slashcode is dead. It has been dead for quite some time and I wonder if it can be resurrected. How can Slashcode be dead? There is no community behind it anymore. There has been no official release since 2002, granted you can and should use the CVS tags, but it has not been updated with anything recent such as the AJAX code used on Slashdot for the last few years.
Rebuilding the community? Maybe, but enthusiasts quickly hit a wall. Slashcode's own main page is not up to date, there's a lot of missing information and my previous efforts at helping updating it got no answers from the site admins. How can you build a community when there's no way to learn who's in the boat with you? Ah! The mailing lists, of course! There are two main Slashcode mailing lists. On the Slashcode-general list, there was only 8 threads in 2008, 3 so far for 2009. For the Slashcode-development, it's worse: 2 posts since May 2007, both from our small team. You can ask questions, but you never know if someone will answer the phone.
A few years ago our small team developed a plugin that adds webmaps to stories and GeoRSS to the feed but failed to get much feedback from anyone. We're far from the community and the development workforce than, to name just one, the one behind Drupal, which has its own conference and 2000 developer accounts. Slashdot's responsibility? None directly, Slashcode is open source software, they rightfully have no obligation to contribute to a community.
Slashcode still has some attracting features and an excellent auto-moderation system. So, what's Slashcode future? I'm interested in the insights you have to share. I fear my own Slashsite will die out of technological obsolescence and that other Slashsites have no future. A Slashcode community won't spring out of the digital blue overnight, but it all has to start somewhere. Is it too late to try to build a vibrant Slashcode community?