I would like to know what business problem the beta is trying to solve? Slashdot survived because it is pretty darn good at managing the things users expect, Notifications, quoting, filtering etc. It is a recognized leader in the field of forum and comment management.
So what is the point of the Beta?
"We have work to do on four big areas: feature parity (especially for commenting); the overall UI, especially in terms of information density and headline scanning; plain old bugs;" You will wind up back at Classic.
"Why? We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience."
What wider audience? Are there any Nerds who haven't heard of /.? Or are you looking beyond the News for Nerds demographic? What is the new demographic? and what changes would they want ? Who are they?