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Announcing Slashdot Subscriptions 2332

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dropping-a-few-bucks-in-the-guitar-case dept.
For some time now we have been developing a unique subscription system that we hope will make our users and advertisers happy. Please hit the link below to read an explanation about how the system works, and why it works that way. Also you will learn what a subscription will give you, and what our future plans are for it.Update: 03/01 16:38 GMT by Hemos : A lot of people are asking about the only Paypal option. In answer to everyone: Yes, we are aware of the problems with PayPal.. And, yes, we're currently working on other solutions - read the full copy below, as Rob already states that.

To understand why the system works like it does, you need to first understand that Slashdot is about to start accepting new ad formats. The large ads that you see on many other sites are coming here. We really don't have an option: these are what advertisers want, and if we don't provide them, we won't be around much longer. But we want to give you an option to see Slashdot without these ads. Second, you need to understand that Slashdot readers fall into a variety of types, and charging the same flat fee just isn't possible.

Slashdot subscriptions will essentially let you buy a thousand pages to be viewed without banner ads. And you will have some flexibility to decide what types of pages (Comments, Articles, The Homepage) you want ads removed from, and what types of pages you just want to see the ads.

The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages. To put this into perspective, $20 (typical magazine subscription) will be enough pages for 82% of our readers to view Slashdot without ads for a year. Another 15% will need to spend $5 a month to accomplish the same thing. 3% of our readers would need to spend more than $5 a month- but they could choose to see ads on comments and in almost every case, still pay around $5 a month. (As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%)

We realize that this system is more complex, but Slashdot has a third of a million readers per day with different reading habits, and this is the best way to accomodate everyone fairly.

Currently we only accept payment via paypal. It was simply easy and fast. We intend to offer other options as time permits and readers request.

Eventually we intend to offer additional features to subscribers. Exactly what those plums are remains to be decided: Access to the rejected submissions bin? A 'Gold Star' in your comments header? Karma? (I think that would be hilarious) We really don't know. We'll decide and implement what makes sense as we have time to do it.

We are doing our best to learn from the mistakes made by other sites that have started charging for subscriptions. We won't create subscriber only features that cost more to maintain than they generate. But we do need support from you if we are to continue. So anyway, here's that link again if you forgot it ;)

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Announcing Slashdot Subscriptions

Comments Filter:
  • Rejected submissions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by melquiades (314628) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:21AM (#3090631) Homepage
    Access to the rejected submissions bin?

    Yes, please -- with the opportunity to moderate or rank them, so the most interesting rejected submissions float to the top.

    If a story gets a very positive ranking, maybe the editorial staff can give it a second thought. And if it goes the way of the troll, nobody is the worse for it.
  • Karma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cansecofan22 (62618) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:21AM (#3090634) Homepage
    I think you should reward the people that have high karma by droping the rates, say someone with above a 30 gets $1 off the $5 rate, 40+ gets $2 and if you are maxed out at 50 you should have it for $3 off. That way you can reward the people that really use your site and are not just trolls.

    Just My $.02
  • by 2Flower (216318) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:21AM (#3090637) Homepage

    I'm not sure about this -- not that I refuse to pay, since I understand the web won't survive on a free-for-all basis forever. What I don't like is the fact that you pay for a number of pageviews, not for a period of time or some other flat rate.

    Flat rate pricing has two advantages: simplicity, and comfort. It's simple to say 'Okay, no ads for a year for $x.' No need to count the pages you visit, or wonder if reloads count, or if changing the threshold settings to go from 500 posts to 15 is going to count as an add-free counter item.

    Comfort, because I hate nervously watching a meter deplete and trying to optimize my web viewing habits in order to make sure I don't run out. When you say 82% of folks are covered... don't forget that this site caters to the hardcore sorts that participate the most and are likely to fall into the 18% that have to worry. I've never counted my page views, so I can't even tell if I fit that 18%.

    And all things considered, I'd rather browse with javascript off and image loading off than worry about depleting my ad-free views. It's less hassle. Which means less profit for you, but that's free market in action... maybe when you add those value-added feature you're thinking about we'll be getting somewhere.

  • by Nos. (179609) <andrew@@@thekerrs...ca> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:22AM (#3090644) Homepage
    While I love spending my time at work browsing slashdot, and I want to continue to do so, I highly doubt I will pay for it. This doesn't mean I won't continue to browse slashdot, just that I will use more bandwidth by viewing all of the "large ads" that will soon(?) appeard.

    Remember folks, this isn't a mandatory service, you only pay if you want to avoid the ads. At least that's what I understand from Taco's article

  • What defines a page? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:24AM (#3090682)
    Each unique web page served to me? Or each slashdot story I click on, and all threads then suddenly are included in this page? If every time I hit "refresh" the counter goes down again, I'm going to be in sent to the poorhouse!
  • A few questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mwalker (66677) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:24AM (#3090689) Homepage
    Questions:

    Considering the number of articles posted here about PayPal fraud, will you accept any payment other than PayPal? Will you accept cash in the mail to ensure anonymity for the paranoid?

    The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages.

    When we encounter the lameness filter trying to paste code into a comment, does that count as a page view?

    Eventually we intend to offer additional features to subscribers. Exactly what those plums are remains to be decided: Access to the rejected submissions bin? A 'Gold Star' in your comments header? Karma?

    May I reccommend the ability to pay to Disable Modbombing? [slashdot.org]

    Good luck guys...
  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:26AM (#3090712) Homepage
    The people who run Slashdot are human, just like us, and need money, just like us. It does cost big bucks to put something like this together, and make sure it runs reliably. (I'm sure some long-time users are going to laugh at me for claiming that it does, but - well - it has been for some months now, and they obviously spent a lot doing it).

    And I think the subscription model is actually fair - what it looks like they are doing is, effectively, telling us to run our own personal ads on Slashdot - that is, we're buying their unsold ad inventory and using it to remove ads..

    Here's an idea: Subscribers could be allowed to create their own main page out of the accepted and rejected submissions, so they could run their own weblog within Slashdot with their own submissions always approved. Might be a nice ego boost.

    Anyway, I certainly want to see Slashdot continue; I'm surprised at all the negative comments. You want to get paid, I want to get paid, and surely Rob et al likewise want to get paid.

    It's just how the world goes 'round. It was artfully concealed for a long time ... but it's still how the world goes round.

    D
  • page views (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BryceH (263331) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:26AM (#3090726) Homepage
    you must know how many pages users view. why not put that number in the _Your Info_ section on the _User Info_ page so that people can make informed decisions.
  • by ArticulateArne (139558) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:26AM (#3090732)
    My question is, if people start subscribing, would this potentially make ad space on the pages less desirable for the advertisers? Those who subscribe will be those who care enough to spend the money, who have the money to spend (not that $5 is going to kill anybody), and who bother to spend it. If a lot of people subscribe, will the advertisers be left showing ads to people who can't / don't want to spend money? Or are the advertisers going for raw product-recognition building? It would be interesting to see the click-through and purchasing statistics before and after subscriptions, and see what impact it has on the actual effectiveness of the ads.
  • Re:Karma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gorgon (12965) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:27AM (#3090746) Homepage Journal
    Rewarding people with high karma with lower rates would be insane. I can't imagine how bad the karma whoring wouls get. There are enough trolls palying the oscillating karma game already, let's not give them another reason to play.
  • by erasmus_ (119185) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:28AM (#3090757)
    Slashdot is essentially a portal with a strong community of knowledgeable supporters. In asking what value it contributes, let's ask why you are here? Obviously you found some value in coming here, and so do the rest of us. Slashdot filters out interesting stories and allows us access to a great base of commentators (some not so great :). This is of value to many people, some of which already seem to be willing to pay for it.

    I do however see the point of letting high karma people off a little easier, and making non-contributors pay for just reading, which is what I think you're pointing out is a problem. At the same time though, people who participate like Slashdot the most and are most likely to pay, don't you think?
  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:31AM (#3090792)

    Am I interested? Sure as hell am.

    I hate ads, and Slashdot is only one of three sites whose ads I don't block at this point (because I want to support Slashdot). Interested enough to use Pay [yahoo.com] pal [paypalsucks.com]?

    Certainly not.

    Hopefully there will be a link on the front page with how to use my real credit card or send a money order before the really intrusive ads that I have to block show up.

    You see, I'm not adverse to supporting a site I like -- but if Slashdot only offers a choice between using Paypal and being inundated with huge ads? Freeload I will. And if they start using Flash in their ads? I'll vindictively click reload just for spite.

  • by MungoBBQ (524032) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:31AM (#3090794)
    Does everybody forget WHY /. is doing this? Seems to me people think that this is an evil scheme to take over the world when I'm sure that this is the only way for /. to actually survive.

    It's interesting to see how many readers are willing to "screw" /. of either the $20 or the hard-earned ad-bucks that would make /. survive.

    I mean, if you're willing to use measures such as turning of images, javascript or blocking ads in other ways, just remember that you might be a contributing factor if /. does not get the money it needs to continue to exist.

    The capitalist idea works when users are willing to actually pay for services they like. If you like /. IMHO you should either pay or endure the ads.
  • Buh-bye. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:32AM (#3090801)
    > We really don't have an option: these are what advertisers want, and if we don't provide them, we won't be around much longer.

    Unless this is a spec-fucking-tacular troll, what your advertisers want aren't what I want.

    Buh-bye.

  • Re:Karma (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArticulateArne (139558) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:32AM (#3090806)
    Of course, this would start to give genuine, commercial value to the practice of "karma whoring." Scary.
  • by Lawrence Ho (111834) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:33AM (#3090814)
    I doubt many will pay for viewing /.

    Could /. propose some solid plans to improve the quality of discussion, lower the signal-to-noise ratio, or at least listen to our opinions?

    Why would I pay for someone to mod down entire threads, and take away my ability to metamod as they wish without providing a reason?
  • Slashdot Survivor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Narag (163687) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:33AM (#3090818)
    Institute a method for people who subscribe to vote one of the slashdot editors "off the island" for a month at a time. :)
    Maybe we'll increase the signal to noise ratio on the front page if a specific editor can't post a story for a month. :)
  • by esarjeant (100503) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:33AM (#3090830) Homepage
    What is the definition of a "page"? Is a page a URL? What if a "page" loads images and content from another page, do you pay for that as additional "page"-views?

    What if I click on a "page" and bang the "Stop" button right away. I haven't actually viewed the "page", although I did request the link the content was not viewed or for that matter perhaps not even retrieved.

    Even worse, what if my connection temporarily times-out and only part of a "page" is downloaded. When I'm forced to reload the page, then I'm paying again for something that I didn't get the first time.

    I understand the concessions you're making, but I seriously think you should reconsider something more along the lines of a magazine subscription that provides carte blanc access to all Slashdot content.
  • by RembrandtX (240864) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:34AM (#3090837) Homepage Journal
    Why does eveyone whine about having to acutally PAY for something ? How many people here are professionals, and how many are starving college kids ? [And why are some of the professionals ACTING like starving college kids?]

    sieriously though .. $5 isnt a lot of money. Hell. thats going without my daily Star-Crack(tm) coffee addiction once a month. Hell ! its only 1/2 a pinball and i replace like 1 of those a month!

    For something that adds value .. cool. I mean .. i read /. almost daily ..so ..

    My big fear is what its going to do to the 'constructive' user.

    Its not going to scare away trolls .. they don't spend a lot of time on /. It not gonna scare the casual reader .. the only people i *do* see it bothering are the people 40+ karma ... who post alot, and are actually providing content for free.

    I mean .. people come here just as much for the commentary as the articles (and in the case of John Katz or the current report on the newest star wars trailer that is 2 seconds longer than the last one .. maybe MORE for the comments than the articles.)

    If a large number of 'interesting' posters stop posting as much .. is /. gonna get 'dumb-ed down' ?
  • by TedCheshireAcad (311748) <ted@fc.ritAUDEN.edu minus poet> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:35AM (#3090853) Homepage
    The usual spots for me...
    Newsforge.org
    theregister.co.uk
    securityf ocus.com
    ibm.com/developer
    codingstyle.com

  • Subscribtions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tuzanor (125152) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:35AM (#3090855) Homepage
    Some ideas -you should take away the karma cap for those who pay. -you should clearify what counts as a page view (refreshes, checking posts later, checking my settings, etc) -you should give us a "bonus" or priority when posting, since most of the payers will probably not be trolls or 37337 H4X0R5.
  • by SanLouBlues (245548) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:36AM (#3090863) Journal
    Good call. Maybe Karma should be redeemable for ad-free page views. That'll make the editors rethink their repeated dismissals of the import of karma. It'd also probably lead to slashdot topping Everquest in economy size :).
  • Customer Service (Score:2, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex@ph[ ]udio.org ['ata' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:37AM (#3090880) Homepage Journal
    I have no problem paying for slashdot, in fact this is one of the few sites that is worth paying for, but I have one question: Will there be any form of customer service? I have not had moderation points for 2 months even though I've reached the Karma cap. I have e-mailed taco twice with no reply or explanation from him. I was just about to transfer the funds from my paypal account when I realized that I should not pay until I have the ability to moderate. What is slashdot going to do assist it's customers?
  • subscription (Score:2, Interesting)

    by duns_scotus (237590) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:40AM (#3090912)
    A I was logged in
    B will you still criticise NYTimes for daring to have free registration?
    C goodbye. it was fun , but not that much
  • Re:Karma (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent,jan,goh&gmail,com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:40AM (#3090914) Homepage
    To modify your idea somewhat...

    Maybe we should actually use Karma for something. If you're a good poster, you're supplying content to the site. You're like an unpaid writer.

    Well, that's not entirely true. Right now, you get paid in Karma. So, let people spend this currently useless resource. If you've got 50 karma, you can spend it for discounts. That way, you have to keep contributing to get a discount.

    Unfortunately, the karma whoring would be rampant.
  • by SSJ_Ramon (226740) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:41AM (#3090946)
    Imagine this:

    Today's Slashdot has been brought to you by the generous donations of:

    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
    The Annenberg/CPB Project
    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    etc.
  • by Diamon (13013) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:43AM (#3090971)
    Actually as long as the ad image is still pulled across and just not displayed, the advertisers shouldn't know any different. Unless /. goes to click through. *shudder*
  • by Skim123 (3322) <mitchell.4guysfromrolla@com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:45AM (#3090996) Homepage
    The quality of postings over there [at kuro5hin.org] are just horrible. For example, see the current front-page story about female curcumcision. Technology and culture from the trenches my ass


    I don't think they're all crap. I agree that there are not many stories that focus on technology (i.e., news for nerds), and, yes, many are on political agendas that I disagree with, but I still think there good stories there, better comments, and far fewer trolls than here on /.

    Also, as I said, I still do come to /. b/c I can't get the news for nerds over at k5, unfortuneately.

  • by lkaos (187507) <(anthony) (at) (codemonkey.ws)> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:49AM (#3091052) Homepage Journal
    Never forget that all of us who post intelligently are supporting you, by giving you free content. That is, after all, why people read /.

    Which is the only reason why I intend on obtaining a subscription to slashdot. I feel as if /. is a democracy and with democracy comes responsibility. Bandwidth costs money. I don't mind paying a couple bucks a year to get good intellectual content.

    I pay for magazine subscriptions and there is often very little content in them. I buy books often for only a few scraps of content.

    Now, I definitely think the subscription service could be improved. Namely:

    The Karma cap should be removed and karma should be exchangable for ad-reduction. In this way, slashdot would effectively be paying those who contribute most to the community.

    Likewise, editoral contributions should be rewarded with ad-reduction.

    As long as slashdot keeps things democractic and open, I have no problem paying to use the service (I pay to get online after all).

    Now, [OT] a bit. I just tried to subscribe through PayPal and it says I need to spend 1.95 for them to verify my CC! BS!

    It's this damn credit confirmation number. There have been a couple sites that whig out on it but oddly enough, after a couple tries, they accept it.

    So, slight change in my above statement, drop f*ng PayPal, and then I'll pay for a subscription.
  • Re:Subscribtions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CmdrTaco (1) <{gro.todhsals} {ta} {adlam}> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:49AM (#3091054) Homepage Journal
    As I said, I'd like to do filtering based on subscriptions (thats what I mean by the Gold Star for posting). Operating under the assumption that a troll wouldn't want to give us his credit card number (half of them post through anonymizing proxy servers, so I seriously doubt that they'll be giving us their CC num ;)

    It'd be a user option of course, just like all the other filters. You can set a +1 to subscribers. I dunno if everyone would like that, but I would think it would be interesting to see at least.

  • by NetRanger (5584) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:50AM (#3091070) Homepage
    Now look, before we go chopping off Rob's head, perhaps we need to look at this logically:

    1) Slashdot uses A LOT of bandwidth. Bandwith ain't cheap.
    2) Traditionally, Slashdot has provided very decent advertising that actually does catch my interest from time to time (IE, ThinkGeek).
    3) More stable income for Slashdot would mean more resources for Slashdot to be improved... not to mention just stay around.
    4) I agree on PayPal being a poor choice for getting Slashdot paid -- but I have a feeling that PayPal is just a temporary measure until a permanent solution is found.

    Not to mention...

    The only thing that costs more money than our little hobby is women, and Rob just got hooked by one :-)

    On the negative side:

    1) I agree that a "per page" system will not work -- a system based on time, not page counters, would be more fair for those who do the most to make Slashdot great.

  • by bonzoesc (155812) <bkerley AT brycekerley DOT net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:55AM (#3091146) Homepage
    Sweet merciful crap, I'm famous.

    I actually spend most of my time at The Awful Forums [somethingawful.com], which are now $9.95/account. The admission fee is very useful for keeping the signal/noise ratio high, although not as high as .5e [half-empty.org]. It seems that trolls and retards don't like having to pay $10 to get their login back after they get banned for being an idiot.

  • by seldolivaw (179178) <me@NOSpAm.seldo.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:57AM (#3091183) Homepage
    I'm a big fan of Slashdot, and read it all the time. Given my reading habits (and that I post fairly frequently) I'm positive I fall in at least the top 15% ($5 a month) and pretty sure I'm in the top 3% who would be charged more than $3 a month. I'd love to support Slashdot, but not on these terms.

    1. Your heaviest/highest rated posters should get *discounts*, not have to pay extra. Remember, your most interesting content comes from those 3% of your audience -- the ones who actually post.

    2. Page views are a *terrible* way of measuring site use. Changing settings (like viewing thresholds), double-checking stories before posting, refreshing a page to see a continuing discussion -- do these count? Can you tell? I don't want to live in fear of wasting my page-views, *especially* if I'm wasting page views by *contributing* content to your site.

    3. I'm sorry, but the cost is too high. You have a circulation of 300,000+, and employ fewer than 10 people. You have hardware and bandwidth costs too, but 300,000x$20 = $6 million a year, not counting the 15% who are paying more than that. You can't advocate open source and free software and then overcharge for your website.

    So, my suggestions:
    1. Flat monthly fee with discounts for annual subscriptions.
    2. Karma-based discounts, too, so people have an incentive to post meaningful content, which would boost your signal-to-noise enormously.
    3. Lower prices.
  • by revscat (35618) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:59AM (#3091221) Journal
    Or you could up and fucking PAY for something. Wow. There's a novel idea. Instead of having the world hand you news for nerds on a silver platter, you actually recognize the time and effor that Rob, et. al., have put into this beast and give em some fucking MONEY in appreciation.

    "But competition! Free! Information! BLAH!" Spoiled rotten little turds. You'll leech all day, but as soon as somebody wants compensation for what they've done, then they've sold out or some such nonsense. It's like you don't think people *deserve* to be paid for their work if it's online.

    Christ. What is it with the internet, man? People have just no sense of common courtesy. /. is worth 20 bucks a year. That's *nothing*, man. And they've been free for like 4 years now? Come ON.

    Losers. I do not understand the libertarian/socialist dichotomy that is so prevalent among this community. Either it has value and is therefore worth paying for, or it doesn't. Even though free alternatives are available that doesn't make it any less heinous to ditch /. just because the management has to pay the bills.

    - Rev.
  • by aallan (68633) <alasdair@baNETBSDbilim.co.uk minus bsd> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:00PM (#3091223) Homepage

    I'd like to do a flat rate, but we have a tiny percentage of users that load thousands of pages a week.

    But my guess would be that the tiny percentage are the people that are actually posting real content (as opposed to crud which is immediately modded down as trolling). Isn't it a bad idea to change the people providing the content more than the rest who are just sponging off them?

    Never having counted my page views I haven't a clue which category I fall into, I'll wait for the ads and see how horrendous I find them, and then I might pay, so long as I don't have to use PayPal.

    Al.
  • by interiot (50685) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:00PM (#3091225) Homepage

    News For Nerds

    newslinx.com -- acummulated tech news from The Register, Wired, Salon, MSNBC, etc.

    Stuff that matters

    overlawyered.com -- daily examples of our over-the-top legal system

    politechbot.com -- similar, though with more of a slant towards free speech, less sensational stuff


    None support disussion, but all update several times a day.

  • cost vs cost? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:00PM (#3091231) Homepage
    let's do the calculation, 1000 views for $5.00 , or a penny per two pages... that's the homepage plus one comments page.

    two pages of bandwidth (mostly text) = a penny?

    two revenues pages for advertisers = a penny?
  • by Sludge (1234) <slashdot&tossed,org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:06PM (#3091311) Homepage
    Please remove the Paypal requirement. I owe slashdot at least the price of a fat computer book every year. Slashdot has come so far towards making me donate (yes, a service that was cost-free to me that now wants my money in exchange for an additional service is donation as far as I'm concerened), but has this silly block at the end of it all.

    Once I can get to https://secure.slashdot.org, pay with a CC, and have my account immediately upgraded, I'll pay most generously.

    As a sidenote, page views?? I assume more people are going to be viewing comments flat or nested to reduce the number of clicks, unless the staff decide to make it clear viewing low level comments does not penalize the user one view. Hell, throw metamoderation on the free list. Helping the site out shouldn't subtract a paid view for the user.

  • Current Page Count? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by VerdeRana (556951) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:07PM (#3091324)
    Is there a way to see how many pages I'm currently viewing per month? A histogram over time would be really nice. Now if only you could count the amount of time that I spend reading Slashdot when I should be working... wait, do I really want to know that?
  • by agrounds (227704) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:07PM (#3091333)
    I know for a fact that I fit into that 18%, and possibly the 3%. Between my wife and I, who both use my UID, we live on this website. Constant updating, reading damn near all the posts of +2 or higher that don't involve Jon Katz, etc. Shit, we even use the slashboxes as our link section to the world, since you have every site I read regularly in a slashbox. I really think you should consider a flat fee option, even if it is higher than the paypal metered option, for straight unmetered monthly access. I know that my UID must hit /. at least 100 times a day... Please consider a monthly unmetered rate as a viable alternative to supplement the metered access. I'll gladly fork over some cash if I can continue my current use of /.
  • by sterno (16320) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:09PM (#3091349) Homepage
    What somebody should do is write an ad filtering client that does the following:
    1. Actually download the banners in a background process
    2. Selectively follow the links of some of the banners in a semi-random fashion

    This creates the illusion that people are viewing the ads even if they are not. This makes it so you don't have to see the ads, and the sites you like will get advertiser supporting.
  • by Will Collins (531652) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:09PM (#3091356)
    I don't know if this has already been suggested, but surely you could make a lot of cash by selling @slashdot.org email addresses? I'd definitely be willing to pay for one of those!

    Will Collins
  • by jgerman (106518) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:11PM (#3091368)
    It doesn't matter either way, if we don't click they don't get results either. Impressions for performance like they used to be. So ad blocking or not, if I'm not going to click, I'm not going to clik whether I see the ad or not. So I might as well not see the ads. I'd like to know what advertisers are going to target the /. crowd. A good portion of the banners here are allready well targetted (I will view and sometimes click the current banners), but going to larger ads to try and force clicks on a (arguably) more tech saavy user base, I smell disaster.
  • OSS != communism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:12PM (#3091376)
    Okay, troll or no, you've got a high enough score to merit a response.

    I'm a programmer. I write OSS for my living. I get paid. My employer, which sells an embedded OS composed of open source software (including a Linux kernel) gets paid. Our customers, who sell devices which have OSS running them, get paid. Everyone gets paid, everyone's happy -- except our jobs are all easier and our costs lower because we use OSS.

    We have plenty of problems with pirating software. Remember, our GPL, LGPL, BSD licenses &c are all software *licenses*; if the creators of software couldn't license it as we see fit, we wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

    I'm astonished that someone taking the positions you do could think slashdot kicks ass.

    Filtering ads != pirating software. Yes, it may screw the owners. That's their own problem; just because someone has some means of making money, they have no innate right to continue making money through that same means in the face of progress. If I bought a newspaper, for which I never looked at the ads anyhow, and built a machine which would scan it and give me a version without the ads, how does that screw anyone? Even when the ads were there, I never read them (so the advertisers lose nothing), and the publishers have no means of knowing (or right to care) what I do with the newspaper once it's mine (excluding copyright violation... but that's another topic). If they give away their paper instead of selling it... same thing applies. If I republished the content without the ads, that would be illegal and immoral -- but if I'm just doing it for my own use, it's my own damn business.
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FatRatBastard (7583) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:13PM (#3091377) Homepage
    Has anyone ever eBayed a slashdot UID before? I wonder what a 7000s level UID would fetch :)

    N.

    (who's only registered after lurking /. for six months.... DOH!!!!)
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:18PM (#3091455) Homepage
    • I will use more bandwidth by viewing all of the "large ads"

    Or block them in your hosts file or with web washing software.

    Now I actually don't block any of the adverts that appear on Slashdot. I even (gasp) click through, and actually (double gasp) buy Thinkgeek merchandise.

    But if it gets out of hand... I'd appreciate knowing this up front:

    • Does Slashdot get paid for pages served with advert links on them, or only for those links that successfully serve adverts to my browser?

    I.e. if I start blocking Slashdot ads, am I going to hurt Slashdot?

  • Hit tracking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by naloxone (142847) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:18PM (#3091457)
    I really have no idea how many pages I hit at /. per month. However the stats listed above indicate that /. can or does track that. I wonder if they could provide that info in your user stats so you could calculate how far your subscription dollar would take you.

    Ideally, they could show hits on the main page vs the comment pages and provide a calculator to show how long 1000 hits would last you with the specified settings. Plus, I'm just a stats junky and would be curious to see how I'm wasting my time.
  • by jilles (20976) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3091467) Homepage
    I fully agree. One quality I appreciate in the web is that you can browse to interesting content for free. Slashdot is arguably aprovider of interesting content (at least I waste a good deal of time here), however, most of the content they provide is merely click through to third party provided sites. Those sites are going to be around regardless of whether I pay or not.

    In addition, I don't mind a little commercial activity. As long as it doesn't steal focus, make annoying sound or makes my mp3 skip it's fine with me. The flash ads on zdnet for instance are fine with me. Especially since they seem to have eliminated the (probably counter productive) more computationally intensive ones.

    As much as I like slashdot I sincerely believe it would be the end of slashdot as we know it if it were to depend on subscription fees. I know for sure that the folks who started /. a few years ago didn't give a rats ass about revenue. If these same folks have changed over the years, maybe it's time to look for some new guys to run the site. Times have changed apparently.

    I'm also sceptical enough to believe that the new subscription fee will not generate a significant revenue stream. Loyal fans may donate once or twice but most won't bother. The business model sounds pathetic: offer free content with ads and hope people will cough up some money to not see said ads. You need something more substantial in this post .com era.

    Finally, there's plenty of news sites without a subscription fee. If they manage to survive, why can't slashdot?
  • by mikeee (137160) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:20PM (#3091470)
    No doubt. My point was just that if 80% of your costs are more-or-less unrelated to page views (userid tracking, etc) those users only cost you 6X as much as a normal user. Maybe less, it's sticky math.

    You have to distinguish between actual profit (which is fuzzy) and marginal profit.

    Suppose you have a fixed overhead of $500k/year, and a billion pages views a year by a hundred thousand users that cost you another $500k.

    A flat rate of $10/year, or a per-page rate of .1 cent, will break-even overall.

    However, for any given user (consider a new one, but it doesn't really matter), you break even incrementally at an average of $5, or .05 cent per page. You come out ahead at .06 per page. Very similar economics to software.

    And psychologically, people prefer flat-rate pricing, even when it's obviously more expensive.

    I guess my point is that at a fixed rate, the heavy users will end up paying for a disproportionate share of overhead. Maybe some kind of volume discount as a happy middle ground between flat and per-page rate?
  • by oconnorcjo (242077) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:21PM (#3091484) Journal
    I think it is fine to charge for viewing slashdot free of various advertisements BUT I HATE the idea of micropayment and paying per page. If I pay xyz to have access to slashdot then I don't want to think of how many times I have reloaded the page or to suddenly get full fledged adds after xyz months. A yearly subscription is the simplest and best. If I get a subscription to an advertisement free magazine, no matter how many times I look at it, it will still be free of advertisements. Slashdot should think of itself as an electronic magazine and act the same way.
  • Text Ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnovos (447128) <gnovos@chippCHICAGOed.net minus city> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3091511) Homepage Journal
    To understand why the system works like it does, you need to first understand that Slashdot is about to start accepting new ad formats. The large ads that you see on many other sites are coming here. We really don't have an option: these are what advertisers want, and if we don't provide them, we won't be around much longer. But we want to give you an option to see Slashdot without these ads. Second, you need to understand that Slashdot readers fall into a variety of types, and charging the same flat fee just isn't possible.

    If advertisers would prefer that you post stories about thier products because "that's what the want" would you do it? I should hope not! Give the advertisers a smack across the head and tell them: "We will put text ads, you know, the kind that annoy no one and actually provide enough information for people to click on. The kind that Google uses to stay in business AND keep it's integrity."

    NOTE TO SLASHDOT: BIG ADS DO NOT WORK! In fact, they actually do the opposite, which will make your advetisers even MORE desperate, and foolishly request even bigger ads! Use small, text based ads. They work!

  • I like the ads. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Omega (1602) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:23PM (#3091518) Homepage
    I am probably one of the few people who actually likes the ads. Whether it be some cool offering on ThinkGeek, or a low priced DSL offer from Speakeasy, I like advertising as an interesting way of promoting new products and services to me.

    This isn't to say advertising is the end all be all -- because, honestly, it's not. Some advertising is pure crap (like the flashing "You've got 1 new message" ad -- annoying as all hell and I'm just glad Mozilla has a "max_animation_repeat" option). The kinds of ads that try to deceive people just end up pissing people off -- and sure they get their CPM numbers, but if they're deceptive in their advertising, what's to say they're not deceptive in their business practices?

    I'm not knocking the subscription idea, I think it's a really good one. Some people truly hate online advertising and some even have enough chutzpah to put their money where their mouth is.

    My point is that I'm choosing to stay with the giant-ad sized slashdot because I actually find slashdot's ads useful (except for the VisualStudio crap). And no, I'm not using Mozilla's image blocking to hide the ads. Good luck with the subscription site, I'm sure you'll do well!

  • by ostrich2 (128240) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:28PM (#3091584)
    I think all this energy trying to fool the ad agency is completely wasted. In the end, these agencies couldn't care less if you clicked here or didn't click there. Clicks, roughly translated, means purchases. If you make a program that clicks ads but absolutely never buys anything, the advertizer is going to realise that advertizing on Slashdot doesn't pay, and pull the ads anyway.

    Now, make a crawler that actually buys random stuff occasionally, and you're on to something. It would be interesting to see what you got, too.
  • Compensation? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OneFix (18661) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3091627)
    So, now that /. is going to be charging subscriptions, will readers be compensated for having highly modded stories?

    This is done in the magazine business. Readers digest does this for their "Humor" section. Family Handyman does it for their "Tips" section. Almost every major magazine out there has a "Readers Comments" section and most pay the ppl that provide content. That being said, there are always alternatives [kuro5hin.org] to [bottomquark.com] slashdot [techdirt.com] . [washington.edu]
  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3091630)
    This really is a great comment. It reminds me of back when I used to use CuSeeMe. When it was popular there were lots of people and reflectors. Then Mplayer came along and a lot of the CuSeeMe community left. CuSeeMe became a ghost town. After Mplayer went games only everybody split between Paltalk and SeeSaw. Online communities are very fickle. All it takes is for something better (cheaper, easier, faster) to come along and there will be a mass exodus.
  • by Blue Aardvark House (452974) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:37PM (#3091665)
    I author on several sites, but the best for general-purpose reading is Slackers Guild [slackersguild.com].

    Not much traffic yet, but I'm fairly lenient with upmods.

    If you're a travel buff, there's always the site [travtalk.org] in my sig.
  • by nagora (177841) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:39PM (#3091699)

    So what you're saying is "We've got 1/3 million users per day and we've got to do what the advertisers want"?

    Well, Jesus, how many readers do you need before you start telling the advertisers what they have to do to get on?

    If that really is the state of on-line marketing then you'd be better off getting out of it and selling blank discs on street corners because that situation is not stable.

    What happens if the advertisers say "Dump the no-ads pages or we walk"?

    TWW

  • by dragons_flight (515217) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:39PM (#3091702) Homepage
    I second that.

    As a poor student, I'm unlikely to pay simply to avoid some ads. If they have the service priced correctly, then their revenue should be about the same from subscription customers and those of us who just ignore the ads. If you have money to blow, or a deep seated need to recieve a gold star then sign right up.

    Slashdot needs money to operate, no surprise there. I for one am glad for the service this community provides and will gladly support it, by happily ignoring the new and larger ads. As long as they keep pace with the rest of the net, I'm not worried. Should /. start having huge or numerous ads, then I would get scared, because I don't want to believe that the site would get in such trouble that expenses would exceed those of comparable sites.

    By the way, I'm just wondering, what about official /. merchandise? Like coffee mugs, t-shirts, or mouse pads with the logos. I might actually buy something like that.
  • by renehollan (138013) <rhollanNO@SPAMclearwire.net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:40PM (#3091706) Homepage Journal
    You know, it would be nice if the view meter was put in place before subscriptions went into effect, so people could have a better idea of theyr viewing habits. Honestly, I really don't know how many pages I view in a day/week/month.

    Also, I'd think that one of the attractions of this site is user-participation and dialog. Perhaps +5 posts should gain some small number of free views. Heck, any non-negative posts should get at least 1 or 2 free views.

  • Moderating Adds? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tykeal (36629) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:40PM (#3091708)
    How about letting us moderate adds? If I were to subscribe (which I haven't yet...) why not let us moderate adds as well? That way we can have a say in what's targeted at us. Besides if the adds were well targeted I might not even mind leaving them up and running if I was subscribed... provided of course they weren't those huge nasty things :)
  • by hyphz (179185) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:41PM (#3091722)
    The point is that the conversation could move to another faciliator.

    For example: addgroup Alt.slashdot. Indicate moderation changes and similar by posting signal messages. Get some open source news clients and knock up custom versions that respect the signal messages when producing the threadview. Use GnuPG signing and trustweb to authenticate the people posting these. Make the news clients capable of parsing pages pulled off Google Groups in the absence of an NNTP server. Even though all the checking will be client side that doesn't matter - a spammer could hack their own client but that won't help if everyone else is using trusted ones.

    But, you also have to see the other side of the coin. SlashDot cannot pay for the ISP in positive contributions. And one of the old problems with internet commerce is that you get MORE costs as you get more customers. Viewing stuff costs money for bandwidth. Posting contributions, no matter how positive, costs money for bandwidth and storage.
  • by Visigothe (3176) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:50PM (#3091824) Homepage
    That is true, bandwidth doesn't grow on trees, which is exactly why large adverts [read BIG BLOATED IMAGES AND FLASH] should be avoided. Bandwidth costs $n per month. If suddenly the pages on the site grew by 200k per page you would wind up paying $n + $y for the delta per month. Often, this is more money than the advertisers give you per month.

    Systems like junkbuster, et al, do a good job of limiting the amount of bytes delivered from the server, thus lowering bandwidth costs. Most people don't click through an advert anyway, so most sites aren't getting the $ they were looking for on ad revenue.

    Is there a solution? well, not a clear one. If advertisers realised that banner ads are like billboards, and paid per impression [they do, but most pay the big bucks for click through] then they would pay the site more per month. Then you get the problem of junkbuster, et al, where the reader doesn't even download the ad at all.

    Another way of recieving additional $, also mentioned a few times, is merchandising. Several readers have mentioned /. boxers, zippos, etc. This isn't a bad idea, but it takes time and money to manufacture that. The big question is, can /. hold out long enough to make this profitable? Personally, I am not so sure.

    The other option is to donate. Here's some cash, thanks for the site. the idea works well, but everyone has a preferred methode of payment. I like Amex, some like Pay Pal, others Visa, Switch, etc. The downside of this is similar to the downside of Public Broadcasting in the US... even if you don't pay, you still get to see everything.

    This sounds a bit bleak, but I think we're resourceful enough to figure out a combination of things that would make /. work well. My personal opinion? the removal of banner ads won't do it for me. Neither will a rejected submissions bin. A set of /. boxers, verywell may do it for me.

    I hope this sparks some thought.

  • by imadork (226897) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:56PM (#3091905) Homepage
    We bitch about the **AA all the time here at /. , saying things like "Why do CD's cost me $18 when they cost far less to make?" and listening to the **AA say "But it costs us a lot of money to develop the content and give the artists their fair share". Then we whine about how $.0023 per download is not a "fair share" for the artists, and we go around in circles.

    Why do we do this? Because we don't REALLY know how much money is involved. We think the **AA is laughing at us all the way to the bank, but they insist there just one download away from poverty. We simply don't know the amounts of money that are involved.

    Now, we have the same situation here. Taco and Hemos say "We need more annoying ads to pay the bills, and subscriptions to prevent people from being annoyed by the ads", and all the trolls are saying "How expensive can a web site that just has links to content be to maintain, we supply all the real content...",etc... There are only a handful of people on this planet that really KNOW how much money Slashdot is making. Or not making, as the case may be. As evil as some of us think profit is, the site has to at least break even to stay in business. And the editors have to eat.

    Wouldn't it be great if we had a slashbox that told us how much it really cost to run the site from day to day? And how much of our subscription money went to keeping the site up, and how much went to Taco's bachelor party? It's probably impossible, because there are some details that need to be kept confidential. But they've said that open-source software would never work because some things would have to be kept proprietary, and yet it's been proven that it could work in many areas.

    This way, when Slashdot raises their rates, the Management can reply by saying "We had no choice, Look at all those red numbers on the Cash-O-Meter!", and we can all see for ourselves what the need is.

    Personally, since I have a high tolerance for being annoyed by ads (and even clicked on a few), if I want to improve life for the /. team, I'd be more likely to donate directly to a future Taquito's college fund than to subscribe. But that's just me.
  • Please don't do this (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fizban (58094) <fizban@umich.edu> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:58PM (#3091927) Homepage
    That's not meant for the subscription service. What it is meant for is this:

    A 'Gold Star' in your comments header? Karma? (I think that would be hilarious) We really don't know. We'll decide and implement what makes sense as we have time to do it.

    Turning Slashdot into a sytem where the payees get additional perks that increase the chances of their comments and thoughts being read is beyond admissable. It's just outright wrong and I hope you don't do it. It may seem funny to be able to buy Karma, but to me it's completely against everything this site stands for. How can you have an open society when the thoughts and ideas of the "rich" are more visible than those of the "poor?"

    Will Slashdot become like the Internet Search engines that offer better search result standings for their paying advertisers? I hope not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:59PM (#3091938)
    add a new identifier to registered users , suscriber number in addition to the member number.
    It is a chance for users who don't have a low number now to get one.
    this way people can have suscriber # 2 etc, ie
    low numbers.
    Don't laugh /. users are into this kind of
    numerical glory.
    this idea offered pro bono
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:02PM (#3091973)
    Many of the low UIDs are currently assigned :^).

    Seems like mine will likely be up for grabs soon if these ads become as annoying as I expect. For clarity: I'm user 509 posting as an AC because I don't want to undo my moderations.

    I read /. at work (mostly for work related purposes, even). It is plain inconceivable that I can get the company to pay for this and I definitely will not pay something they should.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:03PM (#3091989) Homepage Journal
    Let me preface this by saying that I am not opposed to paying for online content. I subscribe to one $30/year online newsletter and pay DSLReports for access to their line monitoring tools.

    I am bothered by this Slashdot subscription scheme for several reasons:

    1. The readers are providing the vast majority of stories, comments, links, and information. They say that our comments belong to us, but Jon Katz publishes them in for-profit books and now Slashdot wants to profit by selling access to these comments.

    2. The "editors" of Slashdot put out stories filled with grammatical, factual, and spelling errors. They want to be profitable like Time or Newsweek but they don't want to be bothered with doing the work.

    3. Those people who contribute to Slashdot's success with insighful, thought-provoking comments will be offered the same subscription rate as the "fp!" and "*BSD is dying" trolls.

    3a. In fact, rather than rewarding those who contribute the most (those with high karmas), they joke about the idea of selling karma points. Then any idiot with a few bucks could publish his comments at +2.

    If some guy is a leech that just reads the articles & comments while contributing nothing, let him pay. But don't charge someone who consistently provides valuable articles and/or comments the same subscription rate.

  • by susano_otter (123650) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:06PM (#3092029) Homepage
    So let me see if I understand this:

    You can't find anything good in Slashdot (instead, you provide a rather comprehensive catalog of its faults), but hey, it's free, so you'll condescend to stick around.

    What I'm wondering is why you're not over at K5, or Salon, or one of the other free sites that doesn't have all the negative elements you've identified here?

    I mean, you seem to be making a pretty solid argument for abandoning Slashdot right now in favor of something better. Hell, you almost have me convinced, and I'm pretty much a blue-sky Slashdot optomist. But you'll lose your credibility pretty soon here if you don't fuck off to some other free site.

    Or are you trying, in some sort of curmudgeonly, misanthropic way, to say that Slashdot is the best free site of its kind, and there's no other place you'd rather be?

  • Alternatives? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Stillman (185591) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:07PM (#3092037) Homepage
    I hear you, and agree with the sentiment of your comments. But for me, it's like this:

    There HAS to be a better way than advertising.
    Advertising pervades and destroys everything. I'm utterly sick of it, but I'm even more sick of it being taken as a "given" in any case where a site needs support.

    Advertisers are like a form of parasite...
    They attach themselves to a previously "free" site, often with promises of revenue, and slowly their needs grow, until it reaches the point you see on some sites where it's 80% ads, 20% content.

    Often, this is because the ads have driven away many of the readers, and so their figures drop off, leading them to believe the ads are "too small", or "not numerous enough"...so they make them bigger/more frequent/more irritating. This of course drives more people away...and so it goes on until all that remains of the original site is a dead, drained husk.

    Just consider the following: If /. had never been bought out by OSDN, would we even be at this point? I can't help wondering if the awesome creative people that run /. wouldn't have kept going somehow. What about:

    1. Voluntary subs - people pay simply because they appreciate the work that's being put in. This would work here in NZ, but not sure about the "free for all" culture in the states. Actually, on second thought...we are getting just as bad these days...

    2. Distributed /.ing! :) Some sort of DC effort - all interested parties install a slashcode client which mirrors a part of /. and provides access. The main /. site merely redirects requests.

    3. Scale back... All the features are awesome, but I for one don't need them all. If things were turned off by default, and a reader had to enable them, /. would instantly see the bandwidth savings of serving less content to millions of readers daily.

    These are just a few (possibly not properly thought out) ideas. Anyone got any others?

  • by jsimon12 (207119) <tzzhc4NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:07PM (#3092041) Homepage
    Why don't we work on a GPL decentralized hosting scheme for Slashdot? Then the hosting burden could be distrubuted over a larger number of machines (thousands, if not more) and you could have a sorta GPL Akamia setup. But maybe that is too socialistic, and wouldn't let anyone really be in control.
  • by iCharles (242580) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:08PM (#3092054) Homepage
    Dispite what some have posted, running a web site does cost non-trivial money:
    • Bandwidth
    • Hardware Purchase, Maintence, and Upgrades
    • Backups (especially on a site as dynamic as \.)
    • Support
    • Facilities (Air Conditioning, Power, etc.)
    Plus, quite frankly, if the owners of the site want to make a little money on it, I can't really begrudge them that.

    Recently, I've seen signs that the free-as-in-free-speech software community also expect things to be free-as-in-free-beer. The whole thread about StarOffice started to make y'all come off as a bunch of cheapscapes. Add to that a recent editorial on ZDnet that basically called out the open source community as such, and I think a PR effort is lacking.

    Now, one of the major resource of the Open Source community realizes that need a better financial footing. So, they exercise a two-step process: greater ad support, plus the option to opt out by directly contributing. There are basically four responses that can be taken:

    1. Politely deal with the ads, and accept that it is a payment for the service you enjoy.
    2. Pay the money.
    3. Start your own site elsewhere
    4. Use an ad filter.
    Option #1 shows that there is an understanding of the real world that, by and large, is usually lacking here. Option #2 is a step beyond that--that the Open Source community is willing to support what they value. Perhaps if enough sponsorship from readers exists, the ads will die off.

    Option #3, on the other hand, basically says that, now that you've stopped giving us a handout, we'll take our ball elsewhere. Sorta the attitude that has been taken with Sun. Until someone asks for money, you are the hero of the Open Source Movement, standing shoulder to shoulder with Stallman and Raymond in their battle agains Redmond. Ask for a few bucks for the product you value, and all of the sudden they are evil evil evil!

    (A practical problem with option #3 is that you wind up being locust. Fly in and use the resources of a site until they are gone, and then move on, leaving an empty shell behind. Specifically, move from slashdot to, say, dotslash, and eventually, dotslash will need to find funding.)

    Option #4 basically says that you are absolutely a cheapscape. You want the service, but don't want to give anything back to support the practical matters (servers, electricity, bandwidth). Perhaps you rationalize it by saying that because you post, you make \. what it is, and therefore shouldn't have to pay, but, lets face it, without the servers, electricity, and bandwidth, there is no \. to post to.

    Why should you care about being perceived as cheapscapes? Because it limits the credibility of free-as-in-free-speech. It turns off people who might want to develop for your platform. It basically is a perspective you don't want to be associated with you.

    I don't know which way I go, though it will likely be option #1 or 2.

  • by dstone (191334) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:09PM (#3092060) Homepage
    CmdrTaco, I have a question.. Will there be true freedoms for paid users who moderate? I haven't really tracked the "official" policy, but I understand that many high-karma users (including myself) have had their moderation privileges revoked because of some posting or moderating or meta-moderating action they performed. (ie, modding up something controversial the editors didn't like, supporting controversial posters with meta-mods, etc.)

    To be honest, I'm not sure at what point I lost my mod priveleges, but I haven't had them for quite some time. Yet I continue to try to post informative or insightful or funny things.

    To CmdrTaco... what is your position going to be on revoking mod priveleges to paying subscribers? If I pay, will I be able to freely post and mod and meta-mod like I thought I could before?
  • No more .org (Score:2, Interesting)

    by charnov (183495) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:13PM (#3092110) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean slashdot has to give up it's .org address now that they are generating a probable profit?
  • by doorbot.com (184378) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:14PM (#3092112) Journal
    There was a situation a little while back where posts (in the same thread) were all modded down to -1 by the endless points of the employees of slashdot. The exact thread escapes me at the moment, but think about this:

    What if those users had active (paid) subscriptions? Now they actually have some stake in things... does slashdot itself have the right to effectively censor them? What kind of rights come with the payment? Can people request a refund if that happens (and is the subscription fee refundable at all)?
  • Re:Half cent a page? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jonabbey (2498) <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:18PM (#3092152) Homepage

    We don't expect users to pay a half cent for every page. We expect that what will happen is that users will suppress ads on just articles or the homepage effectively costing a few cents a day.

    Sweet reason and good sense. I'm happy.

    Is there any way that you can display page view statistics even for pages we view with ads? As I said, right now I'm leaving ads enabled for everything. I'd kinda like to be able to know how many page views I'm getting with ads so that I can better judge whether I should turn the ads off for awhile and drain down my slashdot account and put more money in. Otherwise I can well imagine leaving all the ads on permanently, and just putting in money to my slashdot account at whatever interval makes me feel happy and that lets me feel like I'm contributing in a meaningful way.

    Of course, X-10 pop-unders would take care of any such impulse for altruism pretty quickly. ;-)

  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by autocracy (192714) <slashdot2007@[ ] ... m ['sto' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:20PM (#3092170) Homepage
    Yes folks, that was INFORMATIVE!
  • by mindlace23 (8412) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:27PM (#3092255) Homepage
    Two things;

    First, what do you mean by large ads? Those big square ones? Interstitials? Columnar? All of the above?

    Personally, I like receiving the little banner ads; people that advertise on slashdot are much more likely to be selling something I want.

    But can I use this system to just suppress the big ads? Is that what "only view ads on comment pages" means?

    Also, can I still view ads and have the money go to paying original content authors? I like the reviews and whatnot and would like to pay for more of 'em.
  • by hether (101201) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:34PM (#3092345)
    I would be willing to continue to view the ads as they are now. Can I get a version with some ads, but not the big square ones? Those that take up half the page, jump spin, and in general ruin a site? Would I get a cheaper rate than people who choose not to view all ads? That's what I'd like to see.

    Options, give us options!

  • by Teancom (13486) <david@gnuconsul[ ]g.com ['tin' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:45PM (#3092465) Homepage
    1. Slashdot is *not* "selling access" to these comments. In the same way that moderation affects only what you see by default, and you can see all the -1 fp crap if you want, buying a subscription will only keep you from seeing the ads. No more, no less (at this time).

    2. Honestly, I doubt their goal is to be as profitable as Time or Newsweek. Having enough money to pay wages and bandwidth is probably step #1. Being in the "news market" does not automatically mean that you need to have the "quality" (or the profitability) of the big dogs. If it did, my local city's rag would have gone out of business 70 years ago...

    3. So? You think karma-whoring is bad now, wait until you get "$1 off for 25+ karma!". Getting moderated-down would cause flame-wars much greater than now, and people would start posting less "inflamatory" (i.e., insightful or simply non-/.-herd style) stuff simply so they wouldn't lose their discount! Do you *really* want this??

    3a. It was a joke, get over it.

    4. You come up with a scheme that can *actually* implement your idea, *without* the drawbacks I mentioned, and send it on to Rob. I'm sure he'll be interested, though the monkeys flying out of his butt might distract him a bit....
  • I'd like to see a "pageviews this month" or something underneath my karma on the user info page. That way I could see just how fast I'm going to blast through a thousand pageviews (I honestly have no idea how long 1,000 would last me).
  • by dave-fu (86011) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:57PM (#3092614) Homepage Journal
    Once upon a time, he and a bunch of other uppity Californian web designers (the not-following-comets-with-bags-over-their-vodka-so aked-head sort) ran Crash Site, a lovely site that poked fun at pop culture (RIP Sonny Bono with a picture of a tree on the front page? brilliant.) as well as Salvo, the last Really Good political-oriented website I've seen in a long time. Something like a cross between OpenSecrets and Brutal News. So, uh. There you go.
  • by dmorin (25609) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (niromd)> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:58PM (#3092623) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, I understand why people need the right to post anonymously. But how anonymous? I've never understood why the Slashdot crew can't say "Everybody has to register, but you can choose to post anonymously." That way if you mess around, they still know who you are. Are the people who demand the right to post anonymously demanding to be anonymous just to the other readers, or to the administration as well?

    If it's the former, then make it so that the only people that can post anonymously are paying customers. Sure as hell cancel out the trolls in a hurry. How many people will be willing to pay for the right to be an asshole?

    Lowering the number of trolls lowers the garbage on the site. Which lowers bandwidth. Which lowers operating cost. Which lowers the number of ads that the rest of the good guys have to see.

    So you end up with three categories of people : anonymous and not paying, for whom the site is read-only. Registered but not paying, who see ads, but can also post as themselves. Registered and paying, who don't see ads and can post either as themselves, or anonymously.

  • The sad part (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:00PM (#3092638)
    The sad part is that slashdot is the best model as far as being inexpensive to run.

    They don't have any large graphics that take up bandwidth.

    They don't have to pay for their content.

    A large amount of the editorial work (moderation) is done for free.

    Any yet they can't survive off the banner advertisements even given that most of the banner advertisements do a pretty good job of targeting the audience.
  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:05PM (#3092690) Homepage
    Maybe I'm naive, but I just give money to 3 different sites who just ask for it. No subscriptions, no premier status (I succumbed to Salon, but at least they aren't metering their service.) They just have a PayPal link. One is Plastic, one is a net-art oriented site, one a humor site. I also give money to PBS/NPR.

    And so I suggest the pledge drive model. Every few months, half the front page gets replaced with a big "hey, this costs us money, please join at one of the following giving levels and contribute." *That* I would do. They could offer t-shirts and bumper stickers, just like the public broadcasting pledge drives do. And I would probably give more money to them than I will ever give to a subscription, perhaps as much as 60 dollars per year.

    Frankly, I think sites such as Slashdot should be .org's in fact and not just in name: filed as not-for-profit enterprises (which doesn't mean that they have to lose money, and which doesn't mean that no-one gets paid.)

  • Re:Garbage Bin? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nihilist_1137 (536663) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:07PM (#3092715) Homepage
    you mean like Kur05hin? [kur5hin.org] the successful slashdot. Where the users mod the stories in the queue onto the frontpage, and the moderation totals of a comment is average/#mod's?

    Kuro5hin needs money too. And they arent pissing off their user base for asking for it.
  • Here's an Idea (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:14PM (#3092775)
    For people that post high scoring comments (for being funny, insightful, etc), they would get a free page or three added to their total ad-free page counter. It would give people a good reason to write quality posts...
  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:22PM (#3092842) Homepage
    Twenty years ago, that would be a valid statistic: advertising was useful as information about prices. Now, most advertisement is about building impressions, not about moving information. And there is a far, far more effective medium for moving information about price: the internet. One of the ironies of internet-based comparison shopping is that a retailer can advertise a product, and the consumer can them instantly comparison-shop and then buy from a competitor.

    I know, because I do that with ThinkGeek products all the time: ThinkGeek will advertise a cool product, I'll go to pricescan.com and find the same product for a fraction of the price, so ThinkGeek's advertising actually cost them a sale.

  • by Jens (85040) <jens-slashdot@sp ... e ['ail' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:45PM (#3093054) Homepage
    Slashdotters,

    I would pay for NNTP access. Gate the stories and submissions
    into a NNTP server. Post comments as threads. Gate postings
    via NNTP into the weblog.

    NNTP is capable of using login and password validation schemes
    and is much easier, more efficient (saving bandwitdth)
    than using the Web. Plus, setting up mirror sites is a snap.

    I would pay for NNTP access. And don't be afraid of people re-gating stuff,
    because they could just as well publish their Web login passwords,
    and there aren't many people doing that, are there?

    (I've heard freshmeat does it as well ...)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:51PM (#3093120)
    Is the technology good enough to make slashdot into a freesite? That would be a boost to freenet, and the /. 'leaders' would not have to pay much for hosting...

    If freenet is not good enough yet, maybe some people (not me I'm lazy) could code a P2P slashdot software... seems like a really good idea.
  • by DG (989) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:55PM (#3093163) Homepage Journal
    I spent 11 years in uniform with no thought of reward either, so I'm with you on the "I'm a good citizen because it's the right thing to do" front.

    Where the "citizen" analogy we both used falls down is that Slashdot, unlike communities, is a for-profit entity.

    Rob and friends make their living from this site. They profit from it. Your town is not making money selling your services to other towns, and my country did not make money renting me and my unit to ther countries.

    Slashdot-as-clipping-service is too slow and too spotty to have any real value; it is the user comments that give any real reason to visit the site. We are more like writers for a magazine than members of a community.

    Now, my own personal contribution is small enough that it would be unreasonable to expect that I actually got paid standard rate (10 cents a word or whatever) for every comment modded above 3 (or whatever) But I certainly do not expect to get rewarded for my input by being forced to pay for the service I contribute to. It really is a kick in the teeth.

    Incidently, I would have no problem at all (were I mayor of a town) rewarding people who provide volunteer comunity services (or the Armed Forces) with tax breaks. Just because it isn't commonly done doesn't mean it wouldn't be just.

    DG
  • make me laugh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maxpublic (450413) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:02PM (#3093244) Homepage
    Nobody with an ounce of sense would rely on a forum like Slashdot - mainly a place for people to bitch about their favorite hot buttons - to be a solid source for news. Hell, the editors can't even spell a great deal of the time, much less recognize proper grammar; hardly the recommendation for any sort of serious news provider. And how many times has slashdot been completely fucked on little things like facts and details?

    That said, the fact that Slashdot pretty much just repackages the efforts of other sites when it comes to news means that the $20/year they're thinking about isn't to cover journalistic efforts (there being no such thing) but to allow people to rant on their favorite forum sans ads. That's all it is.

    Will it work? I doubt it. As you said, this sort of business model just doesn't cut it on the internet. But hey, if that's what someone wants to do then more power to them. If my refusal to subscribe means that Slashdot goes under or I get booted, well, them's the breaks. I like Slashdot, but not enough to put money down on this horse.

    Max

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:17PM (#3093394)
    The problem is that there's no evidence that the current system is any more equitable than allowing people to simply purchase karma.

    Article selection, meta-moderation, and the other features of /. seem to be parceled out on an arbitrary basis. A great many people have complained recently that their moderation capabilities have been yanked for mods that contradicted the opinions of the employee moderators.

    The fact that employees have unlimited karma for modding means that they have no incentive to economize; their moderation is quite, um, immoderate, and increasingly controversial.

    Finally, there's the "bandwagon effect," in which people tend to increase or decrease mod values according to the trend, so that posts in moderation tend to stay in moderation.

    The end result? The biases of a small group of people -- the /. employees and founders -- are reflected in the posts that get the most visibility. Because few of us care to view at -1, a large number of potentially valuable posts are lost in the dungheap.

    Until /. addresses these problems (yes, that might involve recoding some core functions of slashcode), then the community, such as it is, will continue to suffer. And I, for one, will save my money to help buy macmonkey.com a new server.

    -Baka!
  • by AxelBoldt (1490) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:26PM (#3093501) Homepage
    Obviously, everyone has the moral right to filter out ads. Other people's business models do not concern me.

    In fact, capitalism is based on the assumption that everyone attempts to maximize their profits. Slashdot does that by advertising and charging, users do that by filtering out ads. That's how the system is supposed to work.
  • Good job, slashdot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by watanabe (27967) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:28PM (#3093514)
    Great job, you guys! I've been waiting for the web to work out good micropay oriented subscription solutions since 1996. I'll gladly pay you my $20 / year, and I hope that you become millionaires -- seriously. If you can make it work, others will learn. And that means less ads for me.
  • by clump (60191) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:37PM (#3093597)
    I worked for a company called Thruport [thruport.com] and one of our products was a spam^H^H banner-serving program. The long and short of it is that I came out with the realization that Internet advertising is deceptive, futile, and a dead-end.

    In such a business, everyone is trying to screw over everyone else. IE, inflate your impressions and click-throughs, track down to geography of users, and place as many banners on a page as humanly possible. I would get calls from irate porn-peddlers and weird clip-art pushers. The second they lost an impression, you would get a call holding whoever was in the room responsible. Nevermind that our sales team sold all sorts of unrealistic promises.

    There is wonderful content on the web that simply could not survive without ad revenue. I would love to just use Junkbuster or block images with Mozilla, but I do want my measly page-view to give some $0.000000002 to the kids that make Slashdot possible. I wish Slashdot luck. Its certainly an issue I have no idea how to solve.

  • by Cy Guy (56083) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:56PM (#3093771) Homepage Journal
    Genius, If I had mod points they would be yours.

    I lost most of my respect for /. when I was hit by the hard karma cap, well finally I see a real reason for karma to exist. Since the content that people are paying for is provided in large part by this 3% why not 'pay' them for their work. Every karma point earned could be worth 10/20/50 page views, whatever number works out to fairly compensate this cream of the crop for providing this quality content. You could also provide 5 page views for every mod point expended, and for each round of metamoderation performed.

    Since the tracking systems for karma, moderation, and M2 are already in place, I see the implementation of such a method of karmic payment as being relatively trivial. Certainly worth the affort instead of pissing off your unpaid staff by turing them into paying staff.


  • I like thinking along the lines of the above post. Thoughtful advertising makes money and is a benefit to the reader, not an annoyance. Consider the Google ads, for example.

    Unfortunately, one thing is abundantly clear: Neither the Slashdot editors nor the parent company have any detectable business sense. Did they expect to make money from ads for high-caffeine tablets? A sensible person would never buy most of the things they already advertise. A lot of the ads are subtly offensive toward the reader, as are some elements of Slashdot, such as "News for nerds". Apparently they aren't aware of the negative connotations of that word. There is no need to have two slogans. "Stuff that matters" is enough.

    The Slashdot editors are communication-challenged. They are people who cannot be bothered to run a spell checker, or learn English grammar. They are exactly the type that runs a successful venture into the ground.

    That's unfortunate, because Slashdot is an extremely valuable resource.

    As I write this, there is a blinking banner ad for RackSpace. RackSpace should definitely advertise on Slashdot; that's good thinking. But the ad says, "Win a Gift Certificate" for $300. This is an invitation to you to embezzle money from your company. Apparently the people who designed the ad feel comfortable with this, or they are just plain ignorant of the implications.
  • $5 - big deal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AmiNTT (539586) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:36PM (#3094178) Homepage
    First off, I read /. as often as a few times per day. This is my second post.

    I fail to see why so many people are freaking out over $5/1000 page views. Even at $5/week (thats one pageview EVERY 10 minutes) its not a bad deal.

    Yes, everything is the world should be free. But, you know what? The world doesn't work that way. If /. has to have bigger ads to keep the advertisers happy, then so be it. The fact that they are offering a way around the new, bigger ads is commendable.

    $5 isn't going to kill you. Besides, its a tax write off (in Canada, anyways)

  • Re:Careful though... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CmdrTaco (1) <{gro.todhsals} {ta} {adlam}> on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:39PM (#3094203) Homepage Journal
    I don't happen to know how much we make off ads off the top of my head, but I do know that we only sell a relatively small percent of the 2 million pages we serve each day. Subscriptions are fairly similiar to a tip jar... we're just giving you banner ad free pages instead of a tote bag or whatever ;)
  • by slashdot.org (321932) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:43PM (#3094232) Homepage Journal
    Hi Rob,

    Unfortunately, I'm a little late to this thread, but I hope you'll read it.

    I would like to start off by saying that I'm not overly enthusiastic about your plans to make /. a subscription based site.

    I would also have to add, that bigger adds are not an option for me:- I'm in fact very depressed about where the good ole internet is heading with this advertising crapola.

    Even though I have no real objection against paying you for your site, the fact that you can't tell me exactly how much I'm going to have to pay bothers me.

    What I would like to ask you though is, what kind of alternatives have you considered?

    Why have you not asked the /. community what type of alternatives _they_ think may work.

    I would like to bring up for discussion some alternatives myself:

    To get back to the advertising: the advertisement industry is going totally nuts trying to come up with 'something' that works. Be it pop-ups, pop-under, dhtml on top of content, whatever,- I perceive it exactly the same as a person walking up to me in the street with a 10 by 10 feet billboard that starts yelling in my face, whilst keeping me from moving on.

    Today they want you to put up bigger ads, tomorrow it's pop-ups, the day after we can't find your site behind all the ads. This basically makes subscription the only option.

    What I suggest is that you come up with some creative alternatives. I mean, look at Google,- they have come up with a non-annoying way of allowing companies to advertise. (You really should read up on how their advertising works [google.com]). Why couldn't this work for /. as well? Advertisements that are 'linked' to a certain subject are a 1000 times less annoying and an equal amount more effective. Since I'm already interested in the subject, it may actually be useful to have some links companies that want to sell their stuff dearly. To become a sponsor should be as easy as it is over @ Google.

    An other thing that comes to mind is sponsored submissions. Hey, if AMD comes out with a new CPU, they may as well pay you to announce it. As special header color or something could indicate that it was sponsored.

    I was also thinking about something like "paid for 'Ask Slashdot'". This could be very helpful for companies that want industry feedback. For example, our company has a product that is designed for In-Flight Entertainment. But we could consider bringing this product to the general market. It would be interesting though to get some feedback (like, 'that's waaay to expensive' or 'but it's missing an xyz port!'). This would have the side-effect of acknowledging that people that post comments add value to your site.

    There could be entirely sponsored sections, like 'what's up with Intel', basically a glorified portal to Intel press releases, but targeted for the /. audience, so using the same /. approach, just with Intel specific news.

    I guess what I'm saying is, instead of the 'in yer face' approach that seems to dominate the internet, why not take a more co-operative approach. I understand that you want to remain un-biased, and it should always be clear to readers when something is placed because of sponsoring. But I think that could be communicated easily.

    The interesting thing is that these kind of scenarios could be implemented in parallel with subscription system. The good thing about that is that you will have instant feedback on how the readers appreciate either one. So instead of following the masses, lead them again! :-)

    Good luck!
  • by Hemos (2) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:45PM (#3094243) Homepage Journal
    Trip,


    I don't think is a loss of spirit at all. If I did, I wouldn't have done this. You are not being told you need to pay anything. If you have been looking at Slashdot and filtering the ads here's a reality check: I appreciate your comment, but I don't appreciate you filtering the ads. That's the only way that we've been able to try and pay money. And here's another reality check: No, Slashdot is not profitable. And the reality is that it will probably be single digit percent of people who sign up - at an average of 10 - 20$ per year. That helps, but not that much


    And even RMS would say that Freedom *does not* mean being able to read this without seeing ads or something. The FSF makes a lot of money selling their GNU manuals. Advertising is the same thing for us.



    That's too bad if you feel this is the loss of innocence or something - I just see it as another option that people can use, and moreover, something that will help to mean we stay around. While other folks may believe freedom means filtered ads, Cable & Wireless and hardware companies demand money for their services, and up until now, ads have been the only way for us to make money. If you do truly believe in freedom, then you must also believe that you must give back to the community - a number of people who have signed up today have said they are still going to see ads - they just wanted to give a few bucks.

  • by Whatthehellever (93572) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:04PM (#3094398) Homepage
    By rights, Rob should be *paying* me. (...) So no Rob, I'm not paying your subscription fee.


    Good, if you don't like something, just don't come back. I believe Slashdot is the most worthwhile resource on the WWW, so I have already paid my five bucks. Only if I can find worthwhile content that provides insight to stir my intellectual side, I think it's worth a helluva lot more than a lousy five bucks.


    Now, if Rob was smart he would offer "Upgrades", pay $20 and get unlimited page views for a year; Pay $50 and get all the Karma you want... etc...


    I applaud Slashdot's move to subscriptions for a few reasons:


    1) It shows that people really care about /.

    2) Not all people are bandwidth leeches.

    3) Most of the losers will finally leave.


    Kudos to Rob and the crew for subscriptions. Now you know who you're friends are.

  • by ewen (218843) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:19PM (#3094521) Homepage

    This change will change the whole site dynamics. For the worse, I think, in its current form.

    Slashdot offers two main things:

    1. A clipping service (the front page, etc)
    2. A reasonably workable discussion forum for comments on the each article, that allows "good" comments to be seen fairly easily

    Both of these things rely heavily on "community involvement". Most of the links for the clipping service come from contributions; all the discussion, and all the filtering of the discussion (moderation) comes from the community.

    People got rewarded for sending in link suggestions with their name in lights; people got rewarded for good posts with karma; people got rewarded for moderation/meta-moderation with (some) karma. The efforts/rewards were reasonably well balanced to produce the current Slashdot.

    Now there's a new factor. Annoying adverts. (I'm assuming they'll be annoying because of the way this is approached, the "we know you won't like this, so here's a way you can buy your way out of it" approach.)

    Which changes the whole dynamics of the site. Suddenly people get "charged" for seeing their name in lights (with annoying adverts, or actual money). Suddenly people get "charged" for reading the comments so they can post. Suddenly people get "charged" for reading the comments so they can moderate them. And perhaps people even get "charged" for reading moderations so they can do meta-moderation. Incentives not to do these things. These things which make Slashdot what it is now.

    If Slashdot wants to make a major change like this, and not dramatically change the "feel" of Slashdot, then it needs to be made balancing these contributions/rewards. Sending in article links needs to be rewarded; posting good comments needs to be rewarded; doing moderation and meta-moderation needs to be rewarded. In the context of the new change.

    Some things Slashdot should consider:

    1. Having an article link posted to the front page/a section should be rewarded by some number of "advertising free" pages. 250/500/1000 page views, perhaps based on interest generated in it. (Click through counting may be required; I'm surprised click-through counting isn't done already.)
    2. Posting a really good comment, say one that is moderated to 5 AND all the moderations are supported by "that's right" meta-moderations should be rewarded. 100/200/300 page views, say.
    3. Moderation done well (supported by meta-moderators) should be rewarded. 25/50/75 page views, say, for the whole set of (5) moderations.
    4. Meta-moderation done well (same opinion as other meta-moderators) should be rewarded; say 5 page views for the whole set of (10) meta-moderations if they're all supported.

    Without these sorts of balancing rewards all the things that make Slashdot good will be discouraged by annoying adverts (persuading people to go elsewhere), or by the knowledge that if you load the comments to contribute/moderate it's going to cost you, so why bother.

    I've no problem with contributing to Slashdot, even money if the framework for the contribution is right (the current scheme is not). But all the contributions which make Slashdot what it is need to be recognised in the new framework.

    Ewen

  • by AShocka (97272) <reverse.gek@gmail.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:11PM (#3094938)
    Do I have to pay twice for viewing the same page on different days? What if I view the page on the day it is posted, a every day after that for a week to check the discussion? Do I get billed for 7 page hits? If so, this is not a fair method of accounting.
  • Except for the fact that Taco has banned a lot of mod prilvedges (Including mine) for participating in the Troll thread that raised very valid points.

    Well fuck me for trying to help Slashdot when it needs it. I've been at the karma cap for years. I have been reading slashdot before user ids. And this is the thanks I get.

    Yeah, I'm really going to pay for a subscription. I stopped clicking on banner adverts as well, I like the site and the idea behind it -- but Taco attacked me for no good reason, so I say fuck him and his subscription model. However, I don't believe Taco is slashdot. That's why I'm still here.
  • Re:Karma (Score:3, Interesting)

    by j7953 (457666) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:35PM (#3095143)

    Well, it might cause moderators to be more careful about not modding karma whore posts up, because they know the poster gets ad-free pageviews for it.

  • by jesser (77961) on Friday March 01, 2002 @07:48PM (#3095555) Homepage Journal
    I wonder why Slashdot changed to prevent IE from caching pages. Most of the time that I click on ads on Slashdot, I noticed the ad after clicking a link, while waiting for the next page to load. I rely on being able to see the same ad after clicking the back button.
  • Heres the deal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chairmanKAGA (515972) <<nwzamecnik> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:14PM (#3096095) Homepage
    If you want me to pay about $20.00 a year, and I will, then I want to have full moderation. At least 5 points a day. Let the people who pay decide what they want to read. If I'm paying I want "something". Trolls are not going to pay so they won't abuse this. Let people who don't pay still "earn" their points but damn it I feel that I will be in a group of similar people willing to pay (those that love this site so much and want to make it as good as it can) that we can help each other sift shit stories. I think the trick to having a pay iste is to give me something "real". Anyone object?

  • by musicmaker (30469) on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:48PM (#3096212) Homepage
    I have no idea what Slashdot draws in bandwidth, but during peaks usage I could easily imagine it drawing a full DS3/OC3 based on some rough calculations I did. A DS3/OC3 worth of bandwidth for a year is not that far off $600k, and you haven't payed any salaries yet! I have no issues with slashdot charging for a service. It's a service, if you like it, pay for it, because before long there aren't going to be any free news sites left. The only problem could be that Slashdot charges, and then so does the news site that it links too! Double Whammy! That could be really nasty. Perhaps slashdot should contemplate getting some kind of cost share program with other sites, as I'm sure that even some of the most stalwart sites like the BBC will soon charge once everyone is going there because they are the last free site left!
  • by Hangtime (19526) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @01:20AM (#3096702) Homepage
    Everyone was expounding about the Google analogy today so I thought I would take it a little further. Slashdot already categorizes its articles by content...so smack some sense into your VA salesforce and sale based upon that. Have a couple of links that appear on the side "SPECIFICALLY" related to the article and you have a real winner. I have already taken the first step if I am clicked into an article plus advertisers aren't paying for untargeted. If wanted to get even more specific, search on keywords inside the comments of each user and if they mention something have it pop an unintrusive text link out to the side. There is a load of ways to think about this. Slice and Dice it. Even if you wanted to get creepy those UINs who were not paying for the site begin a collecting ONLY clickthough on articles. I would think in a pretty short time you could gather what they liked to read and serve better targeted ads that way WITHOUT intruding to much into personal privacy.

    One last thing about content moderation...meta moderate for Karma Whoring and allow for moderation of "Good Link of Info". It would keep the karma whoring to a minimum and would also allow you to give breaks on pricing for people who actually take the time to write an informative article. The question becomes should a +5 funny posted early in a conversation be worth as much as an +4 Insightful...my thought is no. We have some damn smart people that read this sight, physicist, lawyers, wannabe lawyers ;), scientist. I LOVE reading explanations in the cryptographic articles. I have nowhere near the comprehension of high-order mathematics but I always know where I can read an intelligent rebuttal to a fluff piece on CNN or Wired and that's right here. Hell give these people a break on pricing...perhaps even bring them into the fold and require them to comment on specific conversations. You trade a subject matter expert's expertise for a free year of Slashdot. It's a real win-win.

    Rob, you and the boys need to go through this entire article and read some comments. Stay away from the wars of whether or not to do this and focus on those of us who want to help you. I am not adverse to paying just make it worth my while. Slashdot is great right now, but with some tweaks and enhancements its going to get that much better.

    HT
  • Thank you! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ionpro (34327) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @11:03PM (#3100017) Homepage
    Thank you, Slashdot! I've been looking for just this type of thing from my favorite sites for a long time. I do have a question, though --
    for those of us in business, it would be nice to see just how successful Slashdot is with its subscription model; sort of a "test case" on a web-based business. I've yet to see a major site do this and share their results. I beleive they would be very interesting, in the least.

Interchangeable parts won't.

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