... good to hear you're reconsidering it. Frankly, I've missed a lot of the frufraw over this, mostly because, well, Slashdot just doesn't have the draw it once did (and yes, I've been here a long, long time).
I looked at the Beta site. It's annoying. I did my usual for annoying webistes these days: I restyled it more to my liking. Greencurve will always be part of what Slashdot's about.
As for where I'm at these days: mostly reddit. Some on Diaspora. I've tried a couple of the social sites, but frankly, operating as myself doesn't have a lot of draw.
What made Slashdot great when it came out (1997) was that it was one of the very few places online where people could talk about what was new, breaking, and most specifically, not part of the existing corporate hegemony in Tech. And you had people who were actively involved in doing stuff engaging: Bruce Perens, Linus, Miguel de Icaza, Rasterman. That engagement ... seems mostly to have moved on. I might scan the homepage once or twice a month now. I don't even have your RSS feed (does Slashdot have an RSS feed? Oh, good, it does) in my reader -- the stuff I'm interested in is better covered elsewhere.
Can you reclaim the spark? Questionable. Will pissing off the existing community (not "audience", not "users", not "readers") do you any favors? No. Is it a highly competitive market? Yes. Do people really, really, really hate gratuitous change and annoying websites? Yes, and rather more than you can appreciate. The traditional "we're going to drop-ship a metric ass-ton of change on your head" model of SAAS kinda sucks. I mean, it's awesome that you can fix and ship in seconds, but disrupting what users are accustomed to is really disconcerting.
What's it going to take? Communicate your goals and your needs. I can appreciate that you're a business. Guess what: online forum and community sites only generate so much primary revenue, and that advertising market? Google's got a hell of a lot of it.
Realize that technology is only a tool to generate connections between the actors here: yourselves, advertisers, other business partners, information sources, and the community. Especially the community, because that's who the product is, it's what makes or breaks you. Remember, going concerns can die and often quickly: MySpace, Digg (though it's making a second go of it), VA Linux, Yahoo, even maybe Microsoft (oh: what's with the shilling that's been going on in that quarter?). Realize that the big players (Facebook, Twitter, G+) have their own vulnerabilities, and if you work your focus right you'll have some win
Slashdot's got a brand, but little cachet at the moment. Look at who's doing well and why and how. Hacker News (but not for any hawtness in the UI or capabilities front), Stack Exchange. reddit (though it's getting a bit big for its britches). Think about what you want to be. ASK your community what it wants you to be. And get better at being that.
For myself? I'd really appreciate tight focus, quality posts, and good comments. A revise of the moderation system (I helped Rusty Foster on that part of Kuro5hin.org) is long, long overdue (yes, bad stuff tends not to float up, but a lot of good stuff is missed as well), figuring out how to scale conversation, and avoiding the bullshit and buzzshit that's infesting teh Intarnets would be a good start.