Obviously, the fermentation process adds nothing to the story, and is rather meaningless in that it only adds another waiting period between the actual occurrence of the events entailed and the posting date of the story on Slashdot. In other words, it only prolongs the out-of-date time period of the Slashdot story.
So, we came up with a unified theory of the typical Slashdot submission:
- Every story starts out as a perfect news item.
- First stage of fermentation adds grammatical and spelling mistakes.
- During the second stage of fermentation, factual errors slip in, ideas are mentioned and conclusions drawn that have nothing to do with the story, or are just plain wrong.
- During the third stage of fermentation, a story becomes contaminated by another story that is placed nearby resulting in the contaminated story acquiring characteristics that are sometimes almost or totally identical to the other. We call this a "dupe". Sometimes, in the third stage, the story loses all semblance of informativeness, and all that remains is a mention of a new expensive toy for rich geeks (a slashvertisement) or something of that nature.
Then the story is posted.
Thanks to mewse for the insight.