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+ - Ars Technica Reviews /. Beta->

Submitted by TFlan91
TFlan91 (2615727) writes ""In the modern responsive Web Three Point Oh Internet, Slashdot stands like a thing frozen in time—it's a coelacanth stuck incongruously in an aquarium full of more colorful fish. The technology news aggregator site has been around since 1997, making it positively ancient as websites are reckoned. More importantly, Slashdot's long focus on open source technology news and topics has caused it to accrete a user base that tends to be extremely technical, extremely skilled, and extremely opinionated." ...

"For most sites, a redesign isn't a big deal—Ars has certainly had its share, and we will have more as we evolve. But Slashdot is unique in that there is no other place on the Internet with quite the same mix of entrenched knowledge and personalities. The user base skews heavily toward developers, and unlike StackExchange or other, newer communities, this community has been allowed to ossify for more than a decade. Programmers—and most of the core active Slashdot community are programmers to the bone—don't like it when their tools are changed for no reason, and slapping a fresh coat of paint onto the front of the site without delivering any obvious value to those core users isn't going to work.""

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Comment: Bullshit (Score 5, Insightful) 2219

by discord5 (#46180961) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

But we really do take to heart the comments you've made about the look and functionality of the beta site that houses Slashdot's future look.

No you don't. You get plenty of feedback on the beta site in the initial announcement of it coming online, and for the most part the comments were ignored. Ever since the beta came online, there's been people mocking it.

Most importantly, we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready. And — okay, we've got it — it's not ready.

Saying it's not ready is the understatement of the year so far. The comment section is on fire so far, and this is actually the first time that I've seen people spend their modpoints to promote offtopic discussion of this nature on this scale.

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? Is this the website equivalent of "We want the Call of Duty audience" ? This statement right here, goes to show how much you're out of touch with your core audience: News for NERDS... Slashdot will never be reddit, or some fancy ITBiz magazine. Reddit already exists and won't be going anywhere, and the ITBiz audience doesn't give a shit about this place since it's just another site that scrapes headlines from other places.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now, ever since the advent of SlashBIcurious and the other nonsense you've been trying to push. Your "core audience" has been telling you this for quite a while now, but you've adamantly refused to listen, stuck your fingers in your ears and gone ahead as if nothing was wrong. And now you're surprised the comments section is ablaze?

We want to give our current audience the space where they are comfortable. And we want a platform where we can experiment with different views of both comments and stories.

Experimenting with an established platform can come at a high cost. I don't mind the changes to the layout, and I don't give a damn that you want to polish the look, but in all fairness you broke the damn commenting system. It's the only thing that keeps this place worth visiting. Beta just makes we want to look for another home.

If we haven't communicated that well enough, consider this post a first step to fixing that.

Oh fuck off... You know when people start talking about communication? It's the excuse the network engineer makes to the IT Coordinator/Manager when his network melted while users have been making tickets about problems for weeks. It's the pseudo-managers way of saying "I'm not aware of any issues" despite his mailbox being a festering pit of complaints and misery.

You communicated well enough. You communicated when the beta came online, and you get plenty of feedback which you chose to ignore. Now you've got 25% of users getting an iteration of your shitty beta, and boy oh boy is your comment section a cesspool of complaints right now. And the message you send now is obvious: "It's coming, wether you like it or not. Suck it.". Yeah, the art of communicating is not lost on you guys at all.

And in the meantime, we're not sorry to have received a flood of feedback, most of it specific, constructive and substantive.

That's like the time I heard someone from management say "In hindsight, I feel that despite the negative outcome I've made the correct choice. We'll just have to adapt and move on".

Well, guess what... We'll adapt, and move on. Enjoy turning slashdot into ITBizz2.0 or whatever pipe dream you guys at Dice have.

Comment: Re:Where? (Score 1) 177

by discord5 (#45909765) Attached to: EU Committee Issues Report On NSA Surveillance; Snowden To Testify

I also know, despite being a dumb amerikkkan, that none of those places are in Russia. Snowden will absolutely be captured if he appears in any of these places and would be a great fool to testify there.

I dunno, he might just use the phone, or a videoconference tool over the internet (not like he's discussing state secrets (well, not anymore really)). You might not be that dumb of an "amerikkkan", but you're not the most practical person in the US of A either. I'd urge you to become more practical before turning into an enemy of the state, should the thought ever cross your (or your governments) mind.

The former US National Security Agency worker would testify by interactive video link from Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.

Right there in the article even.

Anyway, we'll see what happens. The article mentions that people are divided about having him talk, keeping US-EU relations in mind, which by itself in my opinion speaks tales about "how concerned" these people really are by the whole ordeal. In the end it remains politics, and even if most people were terribly upset they'll still shake hands and sign agreements as if there isn't a care in the world. I can see the merit of asking Snowden a few questions or clarifications, but if I understand it correctly he's already released his documents he had to share. I also vaguely remember his terms for his asylum being "not to further embarrass our American partners", and I would be extremely cautious if I were him about what those terms exactly mean. Putin may enjoy his little prank on the US, but he doesn't like it when people don't dance to his tune.

I think that if you read between the lines of all of this, the EU isn't even all that concerned about its citizens, but rather about its political and economical agenda. I wouldn't be surprised at all if many countries in the EU currently have their intelligence services cooperatively lobbying their politicians to do the very same. Hell, I would be surprised if they already haven't done such a thing on a smaller scale in the first place, considering how much some of the EU nations are investing in their own "anti-terror" efforts, although much more low profile and with considerably less impact. In reality, all nations across the globe are engaged in political and economical espionage, but it's their efficiency that you should be concerned about.

I would say this is nothing but a lot of grandstanding for political reasons, but I am a cynic when it comes to politics. Many European politicians although they emit an air of indifference when it comes to the US, are very big fans of the US as has been made obvious by the cable leaks released by wikileaks in the past. There's decades of treaties and agreements between most EU nations and the US, and few are willing to risk the long-term benefits of those.

Comment: Re:Western democracy is at an end (Score 1) 634

by discord5 (#45130829) Attached to: China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'

The Belgians recently spend a year without a government because the sub-frenchies and the sub-dutchies hated each others guts.

No we don't... We have several movements which at best are able to fool the general populace that one side is getting benefits the other side isn't, together with some very "charismatic" people who use simplified logic to explain it all, including the example of a Flemish person bringing a case of beer to a Walloon person every week.

The problem that happened in Belgium was that we had a prime minister from a party stupid enough to play with Mr Populars party, and played right into their hand. The height of comedy was reached that during one of the impasses the (then future) prime minister sang the wrong national anthem (the marseillaise) on purpose (although he claims it was an honest mistake) to both provoke the flemish nationalist sentiment and the walloon nationalist sentiment.

The impasse has a lot to do with infighting on both sides of the linguistic border. To give a few such examples: the liberal democrats on the french side of the country no longer agreeing with the socialist party (the traditional winner of the elections on that side), the liberal party on the dutch side removing its support for the plans of reformation for the Brussels electorate... Then there was the complicated affair of the sale of the Fortis bank (now BNP Parisbax), which was commonly believed to be the most stable bank in Belgium, where the seperation of powers was violated which caused the government to fall. On top of it all, many of the parties have fragmented into smaller parties which see the impasse as a way to boost their own Mr Populars (and fail miserably at that).

The story is terribly complicated because of how our government works, and I doubt over half of the population even knows how our government works, let alone a casual outside observer. It's all too easy to assume that Belgian politics reached the impasse because of the further federalization and the Flemish nationalists. In truth the political climate here at the moment leans so far to the nationalist parties because the traditional parties fail to make good compromises, which is reinforcing the idea that we need to federalize even further up to the point of cessation.

Think of it like this: the french side is scared that the dutch side will try to become independent (like the flemish nationalists want), so they play hardball. The flemish nationalists use this as evidence to show "Look, they want to play rough. They're taking all the money we're earning.", which makes them more popular to the general public on the dutch side. The french side is typically socialist, and the flemish nationalists are pretty much anything but socialist. So when the two parties with the most votes meet to make a government, it's bound to fail because of the completely opposite ideals. This leads to reinfornce the idea that the french are playing hardball, and the flemish nationalists aren't playing hard enough. That cycle continued until the flemish nationalists withdrew when the public opinion was about to sway on them, and gets to sit in the opposition pointing out just how terrible the federal government is now that the traditional parties are in the majority. The next elections will determine if that strategy worked, but polls indicated it didn't.

When the two most popular parties don't have any common ground, and are unwilling to meet eachother halfway you end up in a situation where it's impossible form a government. During that impasse, our prime minister who sang the wrong national anthem, failed miserably at keeping two governments in place for a term and is in part responsible for the popularization of the flemish nationalists had the most uneventful reign as prime minister during his entire career. After all, the government wasn't allowed to undertake new things, just maintaining the running stuff and signing a running budget.

tl;dr version: Belgium is more complicated than the linguistic border, it's just the most obvious and easily explainable issue in this country.

Comment: How to kill a website in a single bad design (Score 4, Insightful) 69

by discord5 (#45005711) Attached to: You're Invited: Take a Look At Slashdot's New Beta

Guys, as much as I'd like to be constructive, I find it hard to be. Seriously... WHAT THE FUCK?

Please have a look at this story and then look at this one.

The difference between the two is that one has a commenting system that's moderately useful, and the other one makes reading comments a terrible experience. Why did you pick that narrow section for the sites only redeeming value? Nobody comes here for the content, it's rehashed shit from other websites we've already read (probably twice given the fact that stuff gets reposted at least twice). We come here for discussing that stuff, not for the vapid slashvertisements and terrible stories.

You've lost your way, slashdot. You're slashdot, an elaborate forum disguised as a news site with terrible rehashed content given a spin. Kill the forum aspect, kill the site. Enjoy your asset, I hope you didn't pay too much for it if your only intent was to sink it.

Comment: Re:Steam is reducing gaming options (Score 1) 369

by discord5 (#44871569) Attached to: Gabe Newell Talks Linux As the Future of Games at LinuxCon NA

Steam has made the concept of a perpetual, one-time rental service palatable.

It's convenient... REALLY convenient, and it was the first in the market. That should explain the success. Nobody really cares about the whole "you don't own your games" thing, since they haven't been screwed over yet. Valve already won the battle with steam, especially if you consider the other forms of DRM out there. Valve's DRM is least intrusive, up to the point where Steams users are for the most part blissfully unaware that it is there. Origin is a bad joke where the audience refuses to laugh and owned by a company which has a terrible reputation, and the others are so insignificant that it's hardly worth mentioning them (Stardocks Impulse, if that still exists, springs to mind).

I cannot get Dishonored DRM-free - it's Steam or bust

That is in the end the choice of the developer/publisher to pick what platform they want to use. Don't get me wrong, if you're taking the stance where you won't install games with DRM, I tip my hat to you for sticking to your principles. Don't blame Valve for building a successful platform, but blame the publisher/developers for not picking multiple options. In the end, nobody is forcing the developers to use Steam. There are plenty of games that have both a Steam and a non-steam release. Go look on for the more recent releases and lookup the games there on Steam. Plenty of indie publishers choose both options as well.

So if I have a problem with Steam's EULA or ToS, I'm basically unable to play the extreme majority of top-tier titles, and only some of the indie titles out there.

Well, yes, that is how you should stick to your principles. You get over that fairly quickly though. I for one refuse to buy consoles, and I miss out on a lot of very nice console exclusives that I'd like to give a spin. But hey, look here, other games I can play,... There are more interesting games out there than I can play in my lifetime, especially if I take my other hobbies into consideration.

However, this in turn might reduce the motivation to make a DRM-free Linux (or Windows) games if Steam is there and us minority fellows aren't worth the trouble.

Publishers/developers are rarely going to release games without copy protection. The first few weeks after release are far too critical for their sales to go without trivial copy protection, and with the ease they can implement one of the DRM schemes these days they'd be foolish not to implement one, no matter which platform you're talking about. It's just the way it is, and even if Steam were to stop existing tomorrow there'll be another platform to fill that void before you can say "Oh wow, who'd've thought". DRM has become so much part of that industry that you'll either have to accept it or learn to do without those who implement it. The rare few cases where a publisher changes their mind are because they're getting terrible PR and fear they'll lose their sales, but with DRM being so widely present in games today you have to implement something nasty or be dealing with the wrong audience to even get that reaction.

it means DRM will never leave us because too many gamers cannot stand on principle, or simply don't care

You can raise awareness, but there are always going to be people who don't care. And to be honest, out of all the forms of DRM, Steam is the most widely accepted one, which in my opinion is because Valve all in all has a pretty decent reputation as a company and it's very convenient.

As for the whole gaming on linux thing, I would really like to see it happen, even if it comes with the DRM from Steam and what not. It would certainly be interesting, and more attention to Linux as an OS is in my opinion a good thing. In the best case it could make developers consider Linux as a viable platform for release, in the worst case you'd at least get the Valve catalog on Linux. No matter what Steam does, there's always room for developers and publishers to release their games on the platforms they choose without DRM. But that in the end depends on the demand for it, which all things considering isn't all that large.

Comment: Re:Market research (Score 4, Insightful) 178

Except that when your own company develops video games, gaming is more like researching a competitor's product or service.

Nah, in Notches case it's just a lack of attention span. Don't get me wrong, he's an okay guy, but just follow his twitter account for a month or two. He hops from idea to idea, would rather be working on something else once he starts, drops everything for a 7-day FPS competition, etc. The old joke used to be that notch codes a few lines in between his vacations.

I think his attention span problem comes from a lack of incentive to work on something from start to finish. With minecraft his incentive was that it was making him a millionaire, but then at some point (when it went from "ludicrously popular" to "proposterously popular") he delegated that to someone else.

Having said that, he got lucky and he seems a guy with a right mindset at times. So he failed this time, as do many. They just don't have a billion followers wolfing down every word they utter.

Comment: Re:This makes me think of Wrath of Khan (Score 1) 122

by discord5 (#44540323) Attached to: "Piracy Filter" Blocks TorrentFreak for 4 Million Sky Customers

Kahn was quoting Melville; Kirk was his whale. And Star Trek is more known to most slashdotters than Melville.

If anything, I'm surprised that a person who watched Wrath of Khan or First Contact wouldn't recognize the quotes and parallels immediately. Even if your native language is not English and you weren't forced to read these classics, this is classic literature that's pretty hard to ignore. If anything I'd say that next to Shakespeare's work, Melville's right up there as "most quoted classical author in sci-fi".

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.