I've been reading slashdot for around a decade and have never bothered to create an account let alone comment / moderate, but I did today in order to add one more voice to the chorus of lamentations over the design changes.
Since finishing my schooling, slashdot has been the place that I come to continue to learn. Slashdot has taught me a history of the internet from the perspective of the people who actually developed it. Slashdot introduced me to linux which I now run exclusively in my house. And it has influenced my thinking on non-technical subjects like civics and law. I visit daily because, despite all the flamewars and occasional shill, uniquely knowledgeable people always have some insights to share.
Since this site is now facing an identity crisis that threatens to drive away the community that makes it worthwhile I want to share one tidbit that I learned here:
grok: (verb) to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience
I have grokked slashdot. The people pushing the awful beta design clearly have not.