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+ - Slashdot Beta Woes 16

Submitted by s.petry
s.petry (762400) writes "What is a Slashdot and why the Beta might destroy it?

Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.

On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.

One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!

What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.

— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.

— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.

— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.

Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.

1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.

2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.

3. JavaScript. We all know the risks of JS, and many of us disable it. We also have an option of reading in Lync or non-standard browsers that many of us toy with for both personal and professional reasons. This flexibility is gone in Beta, and we are forced to allow JS to run. If you don't know the risks of allowing JS to run, you probably don't read much on Slashdot. Those that allow JS do so accepting the risk (which is admittedly low on a well known site).

4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.

5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.

The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.

It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.

Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.

If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.

User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.

Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.

If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years."

+ - Cyanogen Mod forces tracking of user devices->

Submitted by CRC'99
CRC'99 (96526) writes "In what was hoped to be an April Fools Day prank, Cyanogenmod just committed a change to the 10.1 git that removes the option of counting all devices installed with Cyanogen mod. Details reported by the stats service include the devices unique ID, the device name, the active carrier, and the country the device is located. While this is being touted as "anonymised data" by Steve Kondik, it is common knowledge that the unique device ID is unique for a reason. What effects does this have on privacy for CM users?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: "Your" devices? (Score 1) 2

by Steve Max (#40868117) Attached to: Ubuntu for Android

AFAIK, you can't download and install it on your phone. A given carrier / manufacturer must talk to them, then they'll tailor the OS to a model, and then the users who buy that specific model can get Ubuntu. This is not a product for the end users, but a way for manufacturers to add value to their handsets.

Comment: Nokia is dead (Score 5, Insightful) 105

by Steve Max (#40779349) Attached to: Nokia Aborts Meltemi Linux-Based Feature Phone

They had the dominant smartphone OS AND the dominant dumbphone OS. They had an experimental high end, Linux-based OS that was almost ready to retake the top spot in mindshare. They had the best development tools, which would allow one to target those 3 OSs simultaneously. And they were developing this new Linux-based dumbphone OS that would be created around those tools.

Now they have Windows Phone.

Comment: Re:What a bunch of bullshit (Score 2) 349

by Steve Max (#40741047) Attached to: World Population Grows Beyond 7 Billion

Actually, if this graph is to be trusted, it's very far from an exponential growth. You can see two breaks: one at about -5000, where the population started growing; and one at about 1700, where the growth rate increased dramatically. Also a hint for another, more recent break (~1950?), where the growth rate increased again. (Note for the mathematically impaired: an exponential growth means a straight line in a log graphic. You can divide this graphic in 3-4 different straight lines, so you have 3-4 different growth rates at different points in time)

Comment: Re:For the last F*CKING time... (Score 1) 104

by Steve Max (#40735883) Attached to: Google Releases Jelly Bean Updates For the Nexus S

Updating a Galaxy is impossible (bar rooting) without OTA updates which are Carrier Specific. Should your carrier not be bothered with a phone/tablet that they offered 9 months ago you will never get updates regardless of whether every other carrier in the world has an update.

Actually, it's NOT impossible. Search for "Odin", and get the firmware files in .tar format from sources like SamMobile. You don't have to root at all to upgrade to the latest versions, even if they aren't offered for you as OTA, or through Kies.

Comment: Re:If consumers didn't want big phones (Score 2) 660

by Steve Max (#40714095) Attached to: Don't Super-Size My Smartphone!

Asking for a 2.3'' touchscreen is nuts. I'm asking for a 4-4.3'' high end phone. Even a Galaxy SII (arguably the best of last year's dual cores) isn't 100% lag-free, the browser could be faster, the resolution isn't impressive anymore (they could use a DPI similar to the Galaxy Nexus, or even bigger, and have a qHD/720p screen on 4.3 inches). I want the phone to fit well in my pockets; when I use it, I can handle the "small" (which was considered "huge" only 2 years ago) screen. It's not like I can't see individual pixels on the current screen.

I'd rather have the same screen resolution with a high DPI in a reasonable (4-4.5'') screen size than with a low DPI in a huge (5-6'') screen.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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