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Submission + - Slashdot's new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant (

Slashdot’s new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant
Flashy revamp seeks to draw new faces to the community—at the cost of the old.

by Lee Hutchinson — Feb 12 2014, 6:55pm RST
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.

That user base is itself the main reason why Slashdot continues to thrive, even as its throwback interface makes it look to untrained eyes like a dated relic. Though the site is frequently a source of deep and rich commentary on topics, the barrier for new users to engage in the site's discussions is relatively high—certainly higher than, say, reddit (or even Ars). This doesn't cause much concern to the average Slashdot user, but tech job listing site (which bought Slashdot in September 2012, along with Sourceforge and a number of other digital properties) appears to have decided it's time to drag Slashdot's interface into the 21st century in order to make things comfortable for everyone—old and new users alike.

And the Slashdot user base is not pleased.

Change for change’s sake?

Slashdot's interface has been modified a few times over the years, and each time there has been some amount of protest. However, no prior redesign has included as many sweeping alterations as the Slashdot Beta. In 2006, a major interface update that brought rounded edges to many of the site's visual elements and stuffed JavaScript under the hood caused major upset—the engineering- and programming-focused Slashdot community is collectively not a fan of change for change's sake.

The rage over the new Slashdot Beta, though, makes any previous instances of interface outrage look positively pedestrian. This time, the upset isn't over JavaScript or rounded corners, but over what many Slashdot users see as a removal of the site's most vital features.


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knarfling writes "CNN is reporting that a chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic. Just last month 21 square miles of ice broke free from the Markham Ice Shelf. Scientists are saying that Ellesmere Island has now lost more than 10 times the ice that was predicted earlier this summer. How long before the fabled Northwest Passage is a reality?"

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe