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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."

+ - Slashdot users give new beta design a huge Bronx cheer 2

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Alice Marshall reports that:

Slashdot users are extremely unhappy with the new Slashdot Beta design. The comment section of every single post is devoted to dissatisfaction with the new design. ... ... The thing to keep in mind about community sites devoted to user generated content is that the users generate the content.

"

+ - Dice runs scared. 6

Submitted by cfulton
cfulton (543949) writes "Slashdot management was found hiding under their desks today after a full scale nuclear meltdown on their site. Unable to post a reasonable reply to the thousands of negative comments on their BETA format, they simply modded down all the relevant comments. Then after running around the office for a while they all hid under their desks hoping it would all just go away."

Comment: What they REALLY expected... (Score 5, Interesting) 354

by TheDarAve (#42520205) Attached to: AIG Contemplates Joining Stockholder Suit Against US Gov't

When AIG took on the deal, their stock price was crap. They expected that once they took the deal, which was the USG buying preferred stock, which pays dividends, that the stock price would fall and stay LOWER than the buy price until the USG's stocks were bought off from payment via dividends and cash buyback. This turned out NOT to be the case and the stock price went ABOVE what the USG bought it for. What AIG is crying about, is the fact that they had to buy back their OWN STOCK from the USG, which they had an option NOT TO TAKE, at the current market rate which was, surprise surprise, HIGHER than when it sold it to the USG. There's nothing to sue over here. It was a standard loan backed by the only asset that AIG had at the time: its own stock. No "property" was bought by the government, and the government's voting rights were limited by the wording of the purchase, even though it should have had a ridiculous amount of power with that large of a percentage of *PREFERRED STOCKS*.

Comment: Paperwork the bigger problem... (Score 4, Informative) 228

by TheDarAve (#42481605) Attached to: US Military Signs Modernization Deal With Microsoft

The DoD already has access through contract to that software. The problem isn't access / purchase of the software, the limitation is the security paperwork needed to USE any of that software! ( https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=22645 ) The security paperwork that is required can be long, very long, sometimes HUNDREDS of pages long, and take *YEARS* to get reviewed and approved! The DoD just keeps ADDING bureaucratic layers to this process every year as well! There's a point where the security paperwork just causes more harm than good. By the time you get the software solution engineered and approved, its already most of the way to being completely obsolete! You want to fix the software in the DoD? Fix the process that governs it! Streamline it, cut out the what has by now become multiple layers of unneeded CRAP that's only there because a spot failed at some point, and the solution they came up with simply involved just adding more layers to an already unruly behemoth!

TL;DR - Good luck M$! By the time you get Windows 8 approved, it'll be 4-8 years later.

Comment: Re:Why are we wasting money on this? (Score 5, Insightful) 109

by TheDarAve (#41950031) Attached to: NASA DTN Protocol: How Interplanetary Internet Works

This is where you're completely wrong. Having a network infrastructure that extends outside of our planet (an extranet if I ever heard one!) is a requirement for being able to do things like set up bases and control robotic devices remotely. What we're doing is setting the groundwork for more than one user or group to both control and receive the telemetry from whatever mechanized device we send outside of our own atmosphere! This is huge!

Consider this: We send a basic construction rover and a 3D printer to Mars. Both are controlled by DTN/BP. We can send the 3D printer blueprints for parts and assembly instructions to the construction rover. That would allow us to build up an infrastructure before we even get there and monitor it by adding parts on an as-needed basis. It would allow us to do so cheaper as well, as things can be sent in smaller chunks, and some of it could be manufactured on the fly on site. Doing this using any of the older protocols or even proprietary mechanisms could make things much more complicated, especially if you decide to handover control or add members to a project you've already started.

You can observe a lot just by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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