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+ - Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Slashdot Classic and Slashdot Beta Continue to Co-Exist? 9

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Slashdot has been a big part of my life since I had my my first stories accepted over ten years ago. Some people my age do crossword puzzles to keep their mental agility, some do sudoko, or play bridge. I enjoy searching for and putting together a story a day for slashdot because it helps keep me on my toes to have readers find errors and logical fallacies in my submissions and I enjoy learning from the different points of view expressed on a story I have submitted. That's why I have been so discouraged in the past several years to see readership in slashdot drop off. As a close observer of this web site, I know that ten years ago it was unheard of for any accepted story to get less than 100 comments and there was at least a story a day that got over 1,000 comments. Those days are long gone. Not it's not uncommon to see some stories garner only a few dozen comments. That's how web sites die. If you slip below a critical level of readership, readers will abandon the site completely. I know from my own experience running a web site devoted to the Peace Corps that I used to have hundreds of comments to some of my stories but once comments slipped below a certain threshold, then they disappeared altogether. I think that slashdot is nearing that threshold and I fear that imposing Slashdot Beta on the site's readership will push it over the edge and I don't want to see that happen. I'd like to propose that slashdot continue running slashdot classic and slashdot beta in parallel. I'll stick with classic most of the time. One of the best features of slashdot classic is that comments can be displayed in four formats (threaded, nested, no comment, and flat) and in two directions (oldest first and newest first) providing a lot of flexibility in watching conversations develop. I switch between the formats several times a day depending on what I want to see. But slashdot beta also has its advantages in certain situations. Slashdot needs a blockbuster story or two every day where people can pile on and slashdot beta facilitates this by putting the most commented story at the top of the page and I think that is a good thing. Still I'll use slashdot beta occasionally when I'm on a mobile device but slashdot classic will be the format I use on my desktop. So don't deprecate slashdot classic. That would be like Microsoft disabling Windows 7 and forcing everyone to use Windows 8. And not even Microsoft is that stupid."
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Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Slashdot Classic and Slashdot Beta Continue to Co-Exist?

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  • Trying to pull a digg.

  • Dude's a longtime contributor, has laid out a cogent and respectful business case for keeping classic in parallel with beta. If any of these get to the main page, this should probably be the one. /buck feta.
    • I can't believe I find myself advocating for a Hugh Pickens submission, and yet this comment is exactly right.

      It's scary to me that the best case scenario I can imagine where the beta folks are in fact trying to act honestly and earnestly in the site's interest is that come April 1, this will all just have been the very worst OMGPonies ever.

  • by Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @01:00PM (#46175131) Homepage
    Here's some excerpts and a question and answer from Dice's Chief Executive Officer [seekingalpha.com], President and Director Michael P. Durney at the 4th quarter earnings report for Dice on February 4, 2014:

    Michael P. Durney - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Dice Holdings:

    We took a pretax noncash impairment charge of $15 million to write down the goodwill at Slashdot Media and Health Callings, as well as intangible assets at Slashdot. Based on our projection of expected cash flows, which is in part based on no anticipated improvement at Slashdot Media and on Health Callings being combined into HEALTHeCAREERS, we determined that we needed to record the charge.

    Michael P. Durney - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Dice Holdings:

    In addition to the 2 specific areas of focus for us in 2014, we have 3 key strategic priorities. One, leverage the power of data and analytics to maximize value of the targeted nature of our brands; two, build robust mobile applications and mobile-enabled sites to deliver our services anywhere; and three, continue building a culture of high performance within the company to leverage innovation across all of our sites.

    Financial Analyst Stephen Sheldon:

    It looks like you took a charge for the Slashdot assets this quarter. So I was curious to get your commentary on how we should think about that business on an ongoing basis?

    Michael P. Durney - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Dice Holdings:

    Yes, it's a good question. So if you go back to why we bought it, originally, we bought Slashdot Media for 3 reasons. First and foremost, it was to get access to the users of Slashdot and SourceForge in order to promote engagement in our tech business. And that has happened. There's still more to do and we want more engagement, a more direct engagement, and we'll work on that in 2014. But strategically, that is the primary reason we bought it, and that has happened to some extent.

    The second reason we bought it was we thought internationally we could grow that business, and that hasn't happened.

    And the third reason is we like the tech advertising business when we bought it, and that business has fallen off generally and, certainly, specifically for us. So if we look at it from a purely financial standpoint, the expected cash flows in the business don't support the carrying value that we had, and we took a write-down for that. Strategically, though, we're still continuing to work on that integration with Dice and promoting that user engagement between the 2, and that hasn't changed.

    The conclusion is that Dice isn't writing off Slashdot. Slashdot will continue to exist. Although Slashdot hasn't given Dice the return in advertising that it had anticipated, Slashdot has promoted Dice's engagement with their tech business which was their primary reason for buying it. However one of Dice's strategic thrusts is to "build robust mobile applications and mobile-enabled sites" and that is why they are pushing slashdot beta. What Dice doesn't seem to understand clearly is that by pushing the beta to the exclusion of slashdot classic they run the risk of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    • by qpqp (1969898)

      First and foremost, it was to get access to the users of Slashdot and SourceForge.

      Those users are leaving, sir! First you couldn't stop people moving from SourceForge -> GitHub, now Slashdot -> ???

      Well, you can still stop the latter one, ax the beta now!

      • Those users are leaving, sir!

        Indeed. The problem that I have with slashdot beta is that there is nothing in it for me. I don't see anything that is an improvement for me as a technical user. And if I missed something, there hasn't been much of an effort to inform me.

        Here's what I want:

        (0) Minimal frills - function over form
        this implies:
        dense information presentation - don't waste screen space
        zero javascript puffery - only use javascript if it is absolutely necessary

        • by steveg (55825)

          I might read Slashdot occasionally on my phone, but it's very aggressive about forcing me to the mobile site. And I won't do that.

          So, as it is now, no, I don't read on my phone.

  • This guy wan't to start altSlashdot: http://slashdot.org/~Okian%20W... [slashdot.org] - check his latest comments

    I hope it will have UTF-8 support as well as mathjax - the math rendering engine used on stackexchange [stackoverflow.com]. Imagine how wonderful comments and posts could look like, if people could embed formulas easily!

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