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The 10 Tech People Who Don't Matter 520

Posted by Hemos
from the ouch-that-hurts dept.
TopShelf writes "Business 2.0 recently ran a feature on the Top 50 People Who Matter in the business world, but perhaps more interesting is their list of the 10 People Who Don't Matter. Leading off the list is a Slashdot favorite, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer..." Given, Rob's in there as well, but I'd say his company in the list is pretty decent.
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The 10 Tech People Who Don't Matter

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:22AM (#15605747) Homepage Journal
    The last post. On slashdot. Ever. Poor Rob!

    I don't agree with the article at all, and I definitely don't agree with the top 50 article. In the long run, nothing matters in history. The consumers have been, and always will be, the only important unit or group in any market transaction. Without demand, supply matters little. Even if demand is created because of a new supply of a new item or service, it matters little as that demand is fixed -- it would have gone elsewhere.

    Slashdot is definitely slowing down. So what? Digg is a mess, too. All I see on various blogs lately is "Click my ads!" and "Help me digg up my submission!" Nice.

    I'm a free market believer because I believe in ultimate freedom for the consumer. The only way that can happen is if the producers are given the chance to compete without favoritism, preferential grants or subsidies, or anti-market entry taxes, tariffs and regulations. It doesn't matter WHO the person is that discovers a new market or makes it better, it matters that the consumers are given the ability to voice what they want, no matter if it is immoral or even considered illegal by the previous generation.

    Slashdot will be gone in years or decades. So will Digg. So will Business 2.0. Who cares, as long as consumers consume, and producers can create what new consumers desire.
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:26AM (#15605782) Homepage Journal
    Diggs problem is the speed of the article flow.
    Its like a mashup of slash and fark in fast forward.

    Theres never enough time to savour an article.
    Slash has the posting speed just about right and the subject matter is spot on.
  • by paedobear (808689) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:27AM (#15605796)
    It's a list from Business 2.0. I'm afraid I'd have to put them on my top 10 list of "magazines that don't matter"...
  • by Haeleth (414428) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:27AM (#15605800) Journal
    So I went to look at the list, and it wasn't in the article. There was a link to it, though. So I middle-clicked the link, to open it in a new tab, and... oops. The tab's empty.

    Oh, I see, it wasn't a link at all, it was a pointless bit of JavaScript that merely looked like a link. So I go back and click on it the way they were expecting, and... oops. There's still no list: just an empty window with a title at the top.

    Okay, fine, their online article won't work in Firefox. So I'll use the print version instead. No JavaScript there, right? Wrong. The print link takes you to... the same article, formatted for printing. Complete with lack of list, complete with stupid JavaScript non-link.

    Sorry, guys, but if you've gone to such lengths to make sure I can't read your damn article, I really don't see why I should care who you think matters. If you can't write plain HTML, you have no business talking about the web.
  • by garcia (6573) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:28AM (#15605807) Homepage
    From the article: Malda knows his subject, and he's a good editor, but in the end, he's just no match for the power of the multitudes.

    He's a good editor? He's "ok" but he's certainly not a "good editor" and the people he has surrounded himself with are no where even close to the caliber necessary to run a site in this day and age (this isn't 1998 anymore and blogs and their "editors" have really stepped up).

    Digg is a pile of shit (and thus why I don't read it, ever) but Slashdot isn't responding very well to the outside pressures. Yay, CSS and a template redesign in 2006! I couldn't give a flying rats ass what the site looks like. I want good content (and in 1997 through 2001 it had that). Now it's crap and the fact that I no longer subscribe and don't post 10 to 15x a day (everyday) reflects my disappointment in this site.

    From the poster: All I see on various blogs lately is "Click my ads!" and "Help me digg up my submission!" Nice.

    They have Slashdot posting links too. It's just that most people have moved away from caring about Slashdot's minimal influence and week old stories (and numerous duplicates) to go with sites that are actually relevant in today's connected world. That's why you don't see them nearly as much.

    As far as ads go, they are even MORE annoying here than they used to be and I'm thrilled that I use adblock proxies so I don't have to see them. I forget to use the proxy sometimes and it never ceases to amaze me that with a community that is so behind Google's text ads that they would tolerate the bullshit that Slashdot panders. /old schooler rant
  • Digg is Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abscissa (136568) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:32AM (#15605841)
    Finally, an oppertunity for a Digg Sucks thread... while TFA may be right that Digg is "supplanting" Slashdot, this is not for the better. Digg posts inaccurate articles, tons of dupes, poorly edited articles, etc. on its front page. Slashdot occasionally does the same, but not like 20 times every day. Recently Digg seems to be up in arms about Scientology, as if this is some sort of new thing. I read "A Piece of Blue Sky" about 6 years ago...

    Socrates said that democracy was the WORST form of government because it meant rule by the ignorant masses... the content of Digg is just proof of that.
  • Linus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <{spydermann.slashdot} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:33AM (#15605848) Homepage Journal
    Yes, it bothered me. Because Linus is not only the creator of Linux. He also maintains the kernel and adds new features once in a while. The latest kernel release adds significant features and possibly performance enhancements.

    It seems to me that whoever wrote the article, thinks that Linus' role is over and that he's nothing more than a decorative figure. He's not.
  • by spludge (99050) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:36AM (#15605876)
    Slashdot could have easily had the equivalent of Digg if they had opened up the story queue for public viewing. I know that this is not how the editors want Slashdot to work, but I think it would have let Slashdot address the audience that wants the absolute latest stories and the audience that wants indepth discussion. I have read the FAQ and I understand the issues with spam, but I think those are all solvable problems.

    Oh well, too late now, Digg stole that thunder :)
  • by Yst (936212) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:39AM (#15605896)
    The title of this article appears to be its major problem. This is not an article about People Who Don't Matter. This is an article about People of Whom We Disapprove or People Whose Current Operations Don't Impress Us Much or some such thing. One doesn't need to be justified or qualified to matter, in the grand scheme of things, and the fact that Business 2.0 is unimpressed by these individuals' current endeavours ultimately has no bearing on their importance to the world of business or to society in general. A powerful fool can change the world in a way that matters, whether or not we may think he's a fool.
  • by FinestLittleSpace (719663) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:40AM (#15605899)
    I've never come to /. for the speed of news... I've come for the OVERALL quality of comments... there's some extremely bright people on here amongst the crap.
  • by rueger (210566) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:41AM (#15605908) Homepage
    Although describing our esteemed head honcho as a great editor may be pushing things a bit, the comments about Slashdot miss an important point.

    The challenge faced by many Internet sites is not to generate reams and reams of content, but to allow users a way to filter out only what they want or need. What with "citizen journalists" and plain old trolls and conspiracy theorists, there needs to be some kind of moderating hand to make information useful.

    Peer review, like that created by Slashdot, is one way of doing that, but a firm editorial hand is even more useful. That's why my daily reading includes not just Slashdot, but other sites and blogs which cover specific topics and direct me only to the stories or posts that are of value.

    Despite gripes - and I don't even bother trying to post stories any more - Slashdot does a reasonable job of that filtering.
  • Where's Dvorak? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:41AM (#15605914) Homepage Journal
    That list is totally inaccurate. It's missing both Dvorak and John Thompson.

    -Rick
  • by jeffc128ca (449295) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:42AM (#15605916)
    "On another note about the top ten: I have to completely disagree with the "DVD is an endangered species" noise mentioned for NetFlix. While I'm not a NetFlix subscriber physical media like DVD is certainly nowhere near its endlife. I just don't know what people think is going to replace the physical aspect of DVD media in the near future. I've heard this boy cry wolf before and frankly it's gotten old."

    I agree. DVD's will still be around for a while yet. I would love IP TV and downloadable content to come, but it's still an issue of bandwidth and quality. Bit torrents are only fast when something is just released, otherwise I could spend days and weeks trying to get movies and TV episodes. It's faster to walk to the mall and buy it. And if Net nuetrality is killed you can forget getting any quality video content on the internet.
  • Re:/. on the list! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:42AM (#15605919) Journal
    Obviously I'm a fan of /. I was on digg long enough to camp my username and that was about it. There are times when I wish more interesting things would show up here quicker, on the other hand I sure as hell don't want /. to be digg. Yech. The point of being here is the discussion. The point of being on digg is to see the article "dugg" by 1000 people, 4 times a day.

    User driven news aggrigators have their place, but a quality community needs editorial oversight (or groupthink on a profound level).

    Anyway, I don't know how much you can trust a list that has Ballmer, Kutaragi, Shwartz, Malda, AND Linus. It's like they're throwing darts...

  • cheap trick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blob Pet (86206) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:43AM (#15605925) Homepage
    Q) How do you get people to read your lame business articles?

    A) Say something inflammatory about Slashdot so that it gets posted on Slashdot!
  • by Black-Man (198831) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:46AM (#15605938)
    Too many political topics have destroyed this site. Sad, really.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:46AM (#15605940)
    i have to agree, i made a digg account a few days ago just to get in to the mix at digg.com and too many articles roll out a little to fast for an old man like me, slashdot is still a favorite...
  • by abh (22332) <ahockley@gmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:47AM (#15605942) Homepage
    Slashdot isn't about news... everything that's on Slashdot has already been discussed in the blogosphere for a couple days. The value here is in the community and user comments.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:47AM (#15605945)
    What is so difficult for you in making voting system for stories?

    The same thing that makes it difficult in Florida and Ohio. Even when it turns out that it was working, people who don't like the outcome say it's the system that's broken. When they do like the outcomes (because they've figured out how to perform the Digg equivalent of Karma-whoring or stirred up a bunch of traffic for their simpering Google-ad spam page), then, gosh, Digg sure is timely and wonderful!

    Nope, just like the recent discussion here about how even the Washington Post web site is turning into a "conversation" instead of journalism - I fear that the droning of Digg will become the norm, and only people who appreciate some editorial steerage will populate sites that perform at least a little thoughtful editing. Which is not to say that Timothy counts.
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:49AM (#15605954)
    Seriously. The dot-com cheerleader mag that has absolutely nothing to say anymore. Go profile John chambers and his three hair comb over again.

    BTW, could they have chosen a worse picture of Linus? Don't answer that.

    Oh, and they are fools to throw the Netflix guy out there. He owns a distribution model, and with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, I don't think the DVD as a distro method is nearly as dead as they think.
  • by LordPhantom (763327) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:51AM (#15605971)
    So, out of genuine curiosity, what are all the alternatives you'd suggest people read? I have a short list of sites I read regularly, but I'm curious why you didn't mention any of the "sites that are actually relevant in today's connected world".

    In short, "Such as...?"?

  • LINUS!=BALLMER (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Foofoobar (318279) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:52AM (#15605977)
    Ok seriously, putting these two together in the same article and calling them both losers?? Ballmer has the ability to turn the biggest ship in history and while he has been lost at sea during his entire reign (and survived ongoing mutinees), I would not say he doesn't matter. He does matter. He's just ineffectual.

    Linus on the other hand claims that he is an engineer and not a revolutionary and as a result, this simple statement makes him more of a revolutionary than even he would like to be. Linus has tried to avoid being cast as that and never once thought of himself in that way. In int5erview after interview, he always downplays that aspect and promotes Linux to meet the demands of consumers AND of business and not to have the OS dictates the rules of how the computer industry must move (unlike other monopolistic companies).

    I think LInus's greatest ability is his ability to lead without leading. His actions and statements have often made me pause to reconsider my zealotry at times and made me understand why he supporets some of the things that he does. While I still disagree with him on some points, he still has alot of influence... to alot of people and alot of companies.
  • by bgfay (5362) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:52AM (#15605980) Homepage
    But that doesn't mean that it's useless. The NY Times was supposedly dead as well. I still read that. Radio has been dead forever, but here I am listening to NPR almost every waking hour. I seem to remember that the paperless office was right around the corner too. Oh well. Ho hum.

    All that said, I can actually imagine that Linus is happy with what was written about him. It reflects pretty well on the strength of the open source model.
  • Re:The list (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jZnat (793348) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:56AM (#15606007) Homepage Journal
    There should be some way of informing CNN that their blatant disregard for accessibility via their irrational usage of random javascript for everything is probably illegal due to accessibility laws.

    Can someone just re-post the damn article in an accessible format (i.e. "Plain Old Text")?
  • by wannabgeek (323414) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:01PM (#15606046) Journal
    Check's in the mail.

    It's not for money. He got what he wanted already, the mod points!
  • So the article says Rob's not important - big deal. I RTFA and I know it slams the slash in the text, but it reality, it's a list of people. Just like the Torvalds bit, Rob isn't as important as what he created is. Basically, he's no more important to the process at slashdot today than any other moderator.

    As others have already stated, what separates Slashdot from Digg is quality. The articles may be the same, similiar, delayed, dupes, whatever - but the moderated commentary from users is what makes Slashdot worth reading.

    That said, Rob deserves a huge portion of credit for creating and maintaining this community. The man may be irrelevant, but the community is not.
  • linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grumpyman (849537) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:12PM (#15606127)
    While Torvalds still oversees any changes made to the innermost core of Linux, most of the innovation is now done by others, and commercial businesses like Red Hat and Novell increasingly steer its future. Although he can claim credit for popularizing one of the most powerful ideas ever to sweep through the software industry, Torvalds's project has matured to such an extent that it's largely outgrown its illustrious creator.


    Isn't that the whole point? To have many many others contributing to the project so that it can grow in such a way that is larger than just an individual?

  • I don't actually have a problem with the way the front page of Digg works. I visit it every day and get more interesting stories than Slash has. Digg's weakness in is the community -- I just can't even stand to read the comments section. I rarely even click on the discussion because, when I do, it disgusts me.

    I still remember some 8 years ago probably -- when I first came to Slash -- how 5% of the level of conversation was amazing. You'd get people who had been working since the 70's who would be discussing how the unixy news of the day would affect them. There's even still a little of that left here sometimes. I wade through comments similar to what I've read a thousand times before in order to find that gem of one that truly edifies me. Digg's comment section just leaves me feeling dirty by comparison.

    Yeah, Malda doesn't matter. I don't even know if he ever did. The editors could change the story submission method to more reflect Digg's model and I don't think that it would change the community here much, which might be a good plan. Years ago, when Slash started choking on the crap it was feeding itself, I hoped Bruce's site would attract some serious attention, but it never really did. I still visit it once in a while, though.

    I will never leave Slash for Digg, unless it's community becomes better educated about tech, and that's not likely to happen since they are moving to a broader, not narrower, audience.
  • In other words, Digg fuels and exacerbates your ADHD...

    Pretty much.

    I've gone over to Digg from time to time, but I've never stayed there because I just don't enjoy it as much. Slashdot, to me, is a discussion site. The articles are really just prompts that get people talking; the real "content" isn't in the links / TFAs -- which are mostly just stuff you can find on Google News most of the time anyway -- but in the discussion itself.

    Digg is the other way around. It seems like it's basically a news aggregator, and the discussion is mostly mindless drivel (even compared to Slashdot) and people voting. Maybe I just picked the wrong threads to read, but the S/N ratio was even lower there than it is in your average Slashdot thread, and that's really saying something. Yeah, Slashdot has bizarre trolling phenomena (FPs, the whole GNAA business, etc.) but there's almost always good posts as well; on Digg, quality posts seemed more the exception than the rule.

    I can get my news anywhere -- there are tons of aggregators and newsfeeds and bloggers who sift endlessly through basically everything the internet has to offer, pulling out things to read. That, to me, isn't particularly interesting. The discussion (which comes from the userbase) is: that's something that has value to me, and why I think Slashdot still comes out on top of Digg.

    If Digg draws the ADD-types away who are just looking for an endless stream of new links, all the better.
  • by darthservo (942083) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:20PM (#15606212)
    Is this just a frail attempt at a flamebait or something?

    Yes, it's the equivalent to the same strategy that John Dvorak uses - get people to read through your article by hitting a nerve.

    By simply including Slashdot, the magazine editors could guarantee that this article would be /.ed. They even admit this point themselves: "Remember the days when "getting Slashdotted" was every sysadmin's worst nightmare?...For those that survived the flood, it was the online equivalent of a papal benediction."

    They also attack both sides of a few spectrums: Blu-ray vs HD-DVD, MS vs Linux (vs Sun?). In addition they hit services and products that quite a few people use: Netflix, Sony, Myspace, Slashdot.

    People who read through this type of "news" will end up seeing a service or company they like mentioned in this article, then go to the source to read through. In turn, Business 2.0 ranks up the page hits.

  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:35PM (#15606342) Journal
    An added benefit of digg is that just because an editor doesnt like an article, doesnt mean it won't be shown.

    Yea, and better yet, if an editor doesn't like your comment, they will just change it to mean something completely different. THAT is why I don't Digg anymore.

    Digg certainly has quantity, and I had participated in getting total garbage on the front page (which is easy to do on Digg) to demonstrate how flawed the system is.

    No nested comments (ok, one level) no way to filter, any idiot with an agenda moderates, everyone is "equal", which is certainly not the case when it comes to good judgement. No, Digg is just an interesting experiment to see what happens when you let the inmates run the asylum, and have accountability by the editors.

    Slashdot, for all it's flaws, has less quantity but more quality. I don't want the news that is the most popular, I want the news I need to know about. That takes editing (but my comments don't...)

    Slashdot has seen an improvement since Digg came out, so the competition is good indeed, although the new "look" rather sucks.
  • Linus Torvalds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:37PM (#15606364) Homepage
    The list is horrible. First, as much as I loathe Microsoft, Ballmer is integral to Microsoft's partnerships, which drives much of the technology out there. Second, Sun is setting the direction for energy-efficient computer clusters; something that the whole Energy Star thing could never pull off. Third, Slash as a content management system, was up and running in the frontierland, and is important because it is still a focal point for nerds (I have never visited Digg, Kiro5hun, etc). Fourth, Linus is still advocating Linux and keeping it on one development tree; both are difficult tasks, both he pulls off well (Linux is not out of control). Lastly, obsolence is not something to take lightly -- is the same true for Eric Allman, Richard Stallman, Bill Joy, Jamie Wazinski, Bruce Perens, etc? I think they form a foundation for future coders, computer politicos, and hackers.
  • by gvc (167165) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:50PM (#15606470)
    Slashdot is far from free and open. The editors exert great control, in secret, over what articles are posted. In exercising this control they have provided fertile ground for self-promotion and half-baked and outright crazy ideas. I cannot count the number of press releases and blogs and testimonials and deliberate misrepresentations they have reported as truth.

    The mitigating influence of replies -- which are indeed free -- is overwhelmed by the initial selection bias.

    I wish I could agree with the story that Slashdot's power had been supplanted by more open media such as Digg, but it ain't so. Slashdot is a powerful tool for internet demagogues, and the editors are complicit.
  • by StarvingSE (875139) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:51PM (#15606478)
    Pre-2000: Everything was happy-go-lucky. New tech everywhere, dot.coms making millions overnight. Tech and computers is now popular, and everyone wants to talk about it.

    Post 9/11: The US government makes war on terror, and the reality comes in: Everything is on computers, all our information, anything the gov (or highest bidder) wants to find out they can (and they are). People's SSN's are leaked from corporate databases and sold to the black market. Newer scams like phishing are making even more people vulnerable. All of this is due to the influx of technology in our daily lives. Its no longer a hobby, its an essential. And thus, the government is passing legislature directly affecting technology (net neutrality, DMCA, etc). Therefore, it is only logical that tech talk and politics converge.

    Politics, although nasty at times, is very important and is definately worthy of discussion since it affects us all in one way or another.
  • by abb3w (696381) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:54PM (#15606502) Journal
    I suspect Linus's role is rather like that of a Highly Effective Systems Administrator; he doesn't seem to do much, everything just works, and even if some idiot runs him over with a truck, it takes a long while for things to fall apart afterwards. OTOH, if when the time comes you don't replace the loss with someone nearly as good, the difference will eventually be noticed.
  • by SoCalChris (573049) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:04PM (#15606589) Journal
    Oh, and they are fools to throw the Netflix guy out there. He owns a distribution model, and with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, I don't think the DVD as a distro method is nearly as dead as they think.


    No kidding. There's still a lot of Americans who don't have broadband available. I don't even live near a NetFlix distribution center, and they can deliver a movie to me considerably faster than I can download it.
  • by Gulthek (12570) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:05PM (#15606602) Homepage Journal
    That's because they don't exist.
  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:05PM (#15606606) Homepage Journal
    The thing that turned me off Digg was the lack of "see replies to my posts"

    I like Digg's article mix and it's one of my clicks when I'm bored but the discussion isn't really there. My opinions are great and all that but what I want is responses. Some of the best posts I read are the ones telling me what's wrong in my own. Being challenged is one of the ways to learn, and often when one does some background research into one's opinions one finds that the world has changed since you formed the opinion or you were wrong all along.

    Digg just doesn't have it.

    plus the layout screws up when you force large fonts.

  • by Trevahaha (874501) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:06PM (#15606608)
    Allegedly in "no particular order:"
    You're right, that would be alphabetical order.
  • by krakelohm (830589) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:20PM (#15606726)
    no way to filter
    On Digg you can filter by blocking individual users comments.
  • by kook44 (937545) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:43PM (#15606924)
    I've gone over to Digg from time to time, but I've never stayed there because I just don't enjoy it as much. Slashdot, to me, is a discussion site. The articles are really just prompts that get people talking; the real "content" isn't in the links / TFAs -- which are mostly just stuff you can find on Google News most of the time anyway -- but in the discussion itself. Agree 100%. Half the time (like so many others) i don't even RTFA. The very existence of the acronym "RTFA" shows how valued the discussions are.
  • by Tragek (772040) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:49PM (#15606956) Journal
    You don't even have to go that far back to find an amount of awe as far as finding the old experts, reading people who obviously know the subject.I came to slashdot.... four years ago? Maybe five. Regardless, it was the concentration of intelligence that got me to stay. Now, sure, having been around for a while now, I know that nothing on slashdot is perfect. Slashdot has its fair share of trolls, perhaps more than its fair share simply becuse of it's popularity. But, so does every other site.

    Let's just hope we don't see slashdot slowly slide into oblivion, because that would be the most sad thing.

  • by edmicman (830206) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:09PM (#15607126) Homepage Journal
    I know it's all been said, but I'll throw my two cents in on the Digg vs Slashdot thing.

    While they may be similar on the surface, I don't like the comparison, as they each serve different uses. I think Digg gets its publicity because of it's sense of "freshness", of having supposedly current material instantly available. Digg is good because of the mob moderation. But Digg is bad because of the mob moderation. Unless you sit and stare at it all day, you'll miss something that hits the front page. I'll check Digg out because things will show up that wouldn't ever make Slashdot's articles. But they're commenting system is horrible. They took a step in the right direction by having threads at least. But giving every half retarded geek out there to "digg down" comments he doesn't agree with (whether they're insightful or not) is bad.

    Slashdot, on the other hand, feels to me like Digg's older, more mature brother. Honestly, one of the best things about Slashdot is the discussion. There's a lot of good info here, and the moderation system seems to work pretty well. Sure, the editors get criticized, but that's going to happen in any sort of community. Perhaps a group editing module that worked like moderating where a rotating group of people approve stories could be fun. But you don't see too many articles on Slashdot where the summary is a single line and it's a link to a blog with a link to a story.

    When you're trying to be the fastest, your going to lose the insight and thought that comes with taking your time at something. I'll keep browsing Digg occasionally, and primarily reading here for the group discussion, and we'll all go on our merry way. At this point in the game, though, I don't see Digg having the lasting effect of Slashdot. Where will we be in 5 years?
  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:19PM (#15607212)
    It's just frustrating, Jamie. We've been hearing about a "future moderation system" for a few years now. I call today's version absolutely, totally broken because it doesn't scale well. It only takes one moderation from one person to knock a post up or down an entire grade. A +5 Interesting just means 3 or 4 people who had mod points found it interesting, not everyone else. Also, it's far too easy to modbomb and ruin an account.

    I'll stay tuned...
  • by Bilbo (7015) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:25PM (#15607261) Homepage
    > Politics, although nasty at times, is very important and is definately worthy of discussion since it affects us all in one way or another.

    Very true, just as religion is also important (especially if you take "religion" in the broader sense of "World Views" and how our perception of reality affects everything we do). Unfortunately, there is rarely any real "discussion" around either of these topics. Mostly, it's just flame fests, name calling and, "How could any intelligent person possibly believe what you are saying???"

    In most any "online" forum, most people are so close-minded and set in their ways of looking at the world (regardless of whether they call themselves Conservative, Liberal, or worse yet, Moderate) that meaningful dialogue is an impossibility. Face to face, there is a slightly greater chance that people can really TALK to each other, but even that is rare.

  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:42PM (#15607398) Homepage Journal

    ... I mean, Business 2.0.

    This is exactly the sort of pure fluff that masquerades for journalism now. Does Steve Ballmer, the man who runs the most powerful computer software company on the planet, suddenly have no power? Ask his employees. Ask companies that partner with Microsoft. Ask Scott McNealy. Sure, Microsoft is on a downward slide, but that doesn't mean Ballmer is suddenly a garden gnome.

    Torvalds? Hastings? Both very, very smart guys with long roads ahead of them. I don't know about the rest of the folks on the list, but Schwartz could surprise a lot of people. If Sun is thriving in five years, ask the knuckleheads at People.. uh... Business 2.0 what they think of Schwartz.

    The "what's the flavor of the minute" attitude of the article is made manifestly evident by the Slashdot v. Digg comparison. As others have pointed out, Digg may be hot, but it is absurd to suggest that the level of discourse on Digg compares to that found on Slashdot. Digg is oriented toward instant "hot or not" feedback, while Slashdot is about in-depth discussion of a smaller number of topics.

    I suppose they have to come up with something to write about, but the world is full of interesting business and technology stories. This sort of crap is worse than useless, because at least some percentage of the people who read it actually think it is worthwhile information.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:16PM (#15607708)
    ballmer doesn't matter? let's see what you think when he finds a way to charge your credit card annually... or monthly...

    uh, he already has... but how can he do it for *everyone*?

    the best and the brightest at msft aren't programming their 1200 lines of code this year, they are trying to answer this very question right now.

    linus doesn't matter? if it weren't for him, you'd already be paying msft monthly... if not daily.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:09PM (#15608128) Homepage Journal
    A +5 Interesting just means 3 or 4 people who had mod points found it interesting, not everyone else. Also, it's far too easy to modbomb and ruin an account.

    While I frequently disagree with Overly Critical Guy, I think he's smack on with his comment here. I've been modbombed myself, and have found that when there are just so many people online, it's hard to even keep track of what's actually funny or not.

    So, is this why Rob Malda is on the 10 Tech People who don't Matter? Maybe, but in some ways, acheiving the Don't Matter list is an achievement in and of itself, in that one had to be (except for Ballmer) someone who did matter to get on the list in the first place.
  • by vtcodger (957785) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:09PM (#15608615)
    Digg's article selection is excellent. Really. Better than Slashdot I think.

    The level of discussion, however... Digg makes Slashdot look like the folks here are adults. That's no small accomplishment. Not necessarily the sort of accomplishment you'd want your mother to find out about, but an accomplishment none the less.

  • by bit01 (644603) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:53PM (#15608975)

    I agree with your points however:

    In general, the current mod system tends to reward those who think thoughts agreeable to the majority of moderators;

    It is impossible to avoid this, it's a democratic process; only by giving some people more votes than others can you avoid it.

    Then it's no longer one-person, one-vote. A meritocracy in other words.

    Then how do you decide who has the merit? Democracy again.

    You can put in various other feedback loops that attempt to encourage more "quality" but people aren't stupid, they adapt their articles and their moderation, and then you're back to square one. In extreme cases unethical people will use sock puppets [wikipedia.org] to get what they want or trickery to fool the meta-meta-mod's.

    Other down-mod's I'd add:

    • Commercial astro-turf. Somebody pretending to be objective is pushing a commercial message.
    • Commercial propaganda. Somebody is pushing a commercial message.
    • Deceptive post. Many propagandists attempt to push their message by having a sentence of vaguely relevent material followed by several paragraphs of propaganda.
    • Unnecessarily insulting. Many regularly insult slashdotter's just for their own amusement or as a way of making their own propaganda seem more palatable.

    The biggest problems on slashdot are not flamers and trolls but commercial interests trying to drown out other points of view with their propaganda. We get way too much repetitive commercial propaganda in the mainstream media without encouraging it here as well.

    ---

    Marketing talk is not just cheap, it has negative value. Free speech can be compromised just as much by too much noise as too little signal.

  • by OverflowingBitBucket (464177) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:37PM (#15610044) Homepage Journal
    I wish I could give my mod points away. I'm tired of being saddled with approving this garbage for the general public's consumption. Maybe I should start modding GNAA posts Insightful...

    Find a Score:5 post that really doesn't deserve it but at first glance seems to. Mod it down as Troll. You'll get spanked in Metamod. Do this a few times and your mod point problem should go away. I've made the mistake of doing this once or twice, now I just reply to such posts rather than mod them.

    Of course, it works modding down legit comments too, but in that case you're taking out an innocent at the same time and that's not cool.

    Then again, you could just go into your prefs and disable the mod option. Preferences / Homepage (wtf?) / Willing to Moderate.

    Personally, I like the Slashdot moderation system. It's far from ideal, but works much better than an small unaccountable elite whacking individual posts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:22PM (#15610472)
    "It's just frustrating, Jamie. We've been hearing about a "future moderation system" for a few years now. I call today's version absolutely, totally broken because it doesn't scale well."

    The reason that it doesn't scale well is because it was created in a simpler time, and geared toward the nerds of that time. While Slashdot ostensibly remains "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters", the majority of people that post here now aren't what would have been considered nerds, back when Slashdot started. The technical insight here has dropped as the population has grown... has anyone besides me noticed the preponderance of "Funny" posts? I suspect that that is a symptom as well: Having nothing to contribute, and not being willing to take some time to at least learn something about the matter at hand, and then perhaps contribute, but nonetheless feeling the need to say something, they go for the "easy post", which is to say something that others of their ilk will find amusing.

    The fundamental nature of Slashdot has changed, because the definition of "nerd" has changed, I think.

    That, in turn, has driven all but the most committed "old school" Slashdotters to either leave, or stop posting... as it's really not worth it. Consider any given Slashdot article: Run an analysis of the UIDs of all of the posters. I suspect that what you will discover is this: Your oldest people are FAR under-represented, even when you consider them as part of Slashdot's total user population.

    And, that's not even a bad thing, I think, unless you're mired in the past: Time passes, and things change, most especially on the Internet... and Slashdot is, after all, a commercial venture now. So, they need to cater to their largest population, so as to generate the most revenue.

    So, I submit this: It isn't possible to fix the moderation system, because of the assumptions made when it was created, which were based upon the idea that true nerds appreciate truth in all matters, first, regardless, and would use their moderation privileges accordingly.

    That changed: So, you introduced Metamoderation, to try to fix that... but, you can't fix the fundamental problem, which is this: The day of the Nerd has passed, at least, in the sense that we knew it, back in the day when it took some knowledge to get online, back when the 'Net was new, and the people you met there were smart and knowlegeable, because it took that, to get here in the first place. Back when there were mostly only nerds online, and knowledge was passed, because we could, to help each other, and a lack of knowledge on the part of one person was considered something correctable, and not a character flaw.[1]

    And THAT, IMHO, is why there's no way to fix Slashdot's moderation system programmatically. It's not broken - the people that abuse now it are [2]... and, they are, for the most part, the ones most active now on Slashdot, simply because they are the in the majority now.

    But, there's really NO reason to change! After all, Slashdot is a commercial operation now, and you need to appeal to them, so as to continue to generate revenue [3], here's my advice:

    You NEED to post more "Your Rights Online" articles, most especially ones that threaten, or seem to threaten, the ability of your posters to be able to get their entertainment for free via copyright infringement. These generate a LOT of traffic, as most of the current generation of "nerds" here get most vociferous, when they think that they will be cut off from that.

    You SHOULD encourage your "editors" to not correct spelling: That generates many posts, too.

    You should also do the same with regards to grammar, but, I don't think you have to worry all that much about that - they'll miss it on their own, I'm sure :)

    Oh, and be sure to throw in the over-hyped headlines - that helps to lure 'em in, and then post to bitch about how incorrect the headline is :)

    Hell, all you really need to do otherwise is figure out how to consistently

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