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rho's Journal: The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout 192

Journal by rho
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Last Chance to See! The final opportunity to discuss this before the lights go out

Questions? There are answers here!

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Saved for posterity, from a discussion about the new subscription system:

... while I don't mean to dismiss the value of comment posters, the percentage of readers that read comments is small. Yes comments draw readers, and keep them coming back. But half of readers don't care! An accepted story submission provides a benefit to hundreds of thousands of Slashdot readers. A Score:3 comment is read by 1/50th of that. So if we decide that an accepted story submission is worth 1000 page views, you would need to post perhaps 50 Score:3 comments to affect the same number of people :)

A statistic in the hand of the ignorant is more dangerous than a gun in the hand of a child. Malda's dismissal of the importance of comments reflects on the inability of Slashdot's "editors" to understand the way communities work.

For the record, my feelings on the Slashdot Subscription Embroglio rests firmly in the uninterested. I have almost zero opinion on the final outcome of subscriptions. I love Slashdot, and will probably subscribe at some point to support the site, but the details are dull (to me).

Says Rob Malda, "... while I don't mean to dismiss the value of comment posters, the percentage of readers that read comments is small. Yes comments draw readers, and keep them coming back. But half of readers don't care!" In that case, Slashdot would be much better served by dumping the flaky and irritating overhead of a DB server and filling the pipe with a longer "Favorites" list--which, essentially, is what Slashdot is once you strip away the comments and comment posters. This is where a meaningless SQL query puts dangerous statistics in the hand of the ignorant. If Malda thinks that he can divine real knowledge from a SELECT query, he is sadly mistaken. While I do not doubt the validity of the numbers, I seriously doubt the validity of his extrapolation of the data. The ebb and flow of a community cannot be read from the tea leaves of an Apache log file.

This easy dismissal of the value of the only providers of interesting and insightful content on Slashdot is offensive. Thus, I propose a small revolt. The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout.

T(H)GSB will be during the week of April 21 through April 27. Easy to remember, the full moon in April falls on the 27th. During that time, I will not be posting, nor will I click through to read the comments from the home page. I will become as Malda's idea of the typical Slashdot reader. I will provide no new content (neither comments, nor story submissions--although I'm not much of a story submitter).

During that week, I'd like to see if Malda sees Slashdot become a better place, or if it becomes the Hallowed Shrine of Troll. I'd like for the logs to be revisited and new queries run. And, I'd like for the "editors" to really see what the true value of Slashdot is--not the sum of click-throughs and page-views, but the sharing of knowledge and dissemination of information; the passing of experience from the more to the less.

This is where the (Hopefully) comes in. This is only meaningful if enough free content-providers (i.e., comment posters) agree to go along and participate. If there is only me and a handful of others who cease normal activities during that week, it will be pretty meaningless. Barely a dent will be made, and Malda and the other "editors" will never realize the incredible value they receive from comment posters.

To spread the word, I'm changing my sig to link to this journal entry. If you would like to help, you can link to this journal from your own sig, or you can simply resolve to enter into a voluntary one-week blackout. Pass the word. This will only work if a goodly number of comment posters participate.

To summarize, if you wish to participate, during the week of April 21 through April 27

  • Do not click through from the home page to the comment page
  • Do not post any comments to stories
  • Do not submit new stories

A useful HTML link to this journal entry (69 characters, should fit in most sigs). You'll probably have to unfungle it after the lameness filter gets through with it:

<a href="http://slashdot.org/~rho/journal/5872">T(H)GSB</a> Apr 21-27

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Last Chance to See! The final opportunity to discuss this before the lights go out

Questions? There are answers here!

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This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout

Comments Filter:
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @01:01AM (#3147013) Journal
    We have here something Slashdot readers really ought to do. I've argued that the comments posted by Slashdot readeres are what's being sold back to them with the subscription service. This is a load of crap. Editors do not listen to the readers and favored monied interests in the name of "journalism". If we stop participating in this foolishness, maybe they'll realize the role comments play.

    Good call!
    • During that time, I will not be posting, nor will I click through to read the comments from the home page. I will become as Malda's idea of the typical Slashdot reader. I will provide no new content ...

      Now I don't really care about this crusade, and won't be marking my calendar to make sure I "don't post" during that week. But I find your idea interesting and have to make this comment: Wouldn't it be more effective if you didn't visit Slashdot's site at all?

      Your problem is with Taco's assertion that the number of people who post comments and read them are insignificant compared to the number who just read the stories. If your boycott goes through as planned then what will they see from their end? They'll see a week where the site statistics support their theory even more than before! It will look like the number of comment posters is getting smaller and smaller, which does NOT help your cause.

      I think a more accurate display of power would be to convince all the people who enjoy the comments to not visit slashdot at all (during that week). I personally will often come to the home page, browse for a few minutes for an interesting story, and then go read it. But the only reason I think to come to slashdot in the first place is because there are always funny and (sometimes) interesting comments related to the story, a feature that most other news sites do not have. I know that if I so desire, I can waste an almost infinite amount of time reading all of the comments and following all the sig links, and that makes me more likely to come back, even during the times when I only want a quick peek at the latest news.

      The raw statistics for myself would show a large number of hits to only the home page, compared to the number of times that I sat and dredged through dozens of comment pages. But if it weren't for the comment pages, those other hits to (only) the home page wouldn't have occurred either! I think this is the non-obvious realization that you're trying to convey, and I think it would be better demonstrated by a REAL, total, blackout.

      • No, he is trying to demonstrate to the editors what would really happen if everyone were to only view the front page and not post or view comments. A site is pretty darn worthless if all it can generate is an abundance of home page hits, but can't link to any content.

        If a huge number of people were to do this, the editors would see that you can't just ignore the comment-providers, as they are the most important part of the community.

        It's like people at a department store. All the stores just try to get you in there and just assume that you will buy to your wallet's content. What if there was a huge push by the people to not buy anything from these stores, but not diminish the frequency of your visits. They could try to brag about how many visitors their store is getting, but they aren't getting anything from it. A full store that contains only people not interested in buying things is worse than an empty store, because they don't know what they can do better (other than improve their products). That is what this blackout is supposed to do. It is supposed to demonstrate what a full store with no buyers is like. Such a store is not good, and the owners will soon learn.
  • recognizing value (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jamie (78724) <jamie@slashdot.org> on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @01:45AM (#3147205) Homepage Journal
    We know the value of comments. A great deal of programmer time, not to mention hardware and networking support, has been committed since I joined the company to make comments work better. It's been a project in itself just to make the system handle the load of supporting this forum.

    Since the last year or so, we wrote the Journal code [slashcode.com] to give users more of a voice of their own. It's ironic that people are using that very platform, which represents a large investment in person-hours, to argue that we don't care about reader feedback.

    • Journals: Oh come on! That's half the fun of having a journal system. Wild rants, raging flamewars, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, insane trolls, disgusting crapfloods, crybaby antics, and self righteous bullshit.

      Then we have this. Slashdot blackout indeed. These trolls are among the best.

    • We know the value of comments. A great deal of programmer time, not to mention hardware and networking support, has been committed since I joined the company to make comments work better.

      However, according to Malda, half of the readers don't care. Why bother, if so many don't even notice? Save the bandwidth and programmer time! Not to put too fine a point on it, without the comment posters, Slashdot is a "Hot Links" with bad HTML and worse grammar and spelling.

      I believe I adequately explained the reasoning behind a temporary blackout, and I stated unequivocably that I love Slasdot. Stow your bleating self-righteousness. I suppose you'd find it ironic that Thomas Jefferson's First Amendment was used to criticize him in the colonial papers. That's not irony--it's the whole point of the damn thing.

      • "Why bother, if so many don't even notice?"

        I think the obvious answer is: because we feel it's important, it's what makes Slashdot what it is.

        "Stow your bleating self-righteousness."

        I'm saying you should look at actions, not just (out of context) words.

        • Consider it, then, a good reminder.

          Of course, this could be entirely moot. Perhaps nobody will participate. If that is the case, you can consider that most commenters believe that they are appreciated, and that I am a complete nut.

          I'm saying you should look at actions, not just (out of context) words.

          Words mean things. Malda's words mean things (even if they're spelled poorly). He takes a statistic to mean something--half of the readers don't care about comments. His love of figures and statistics blinds him to the compexity of a community and the value of those community members. He thinks he knows something, when he does not. I would like to show him the truth.

          So when did you become the Slashdot ombudsman?

          • "His love of figures and statistics blinds him to the compexity of a community and the value of those community members."

            Quoth CmdrTaco:

            "Again, I'm talking value in purely economic sense ;)"

            http://www.slashnet.org/forums/Slashdot_03-06-2002 .html [slashnet.org]

            • I think the biggest complaint most people like this has is in the concept of subscriptions.
              Taco has stated that the smallest percentage of slashdot users are the ones that reload constantly, comment a ton, and submit a lot of articles. These are the people that will require the most money to subscribe.
              The problem is that these are the people that make slashdot a good community. These aren't trolls or crapflooders, but the people that generate the daily news, and good comments. Why should they be penalized the most?

              Please note, that I'm not complaining, here. I'm just attempting to site the problem that some people have (including rho... I think).

              I also hate it when stats are used. We all know there's a big +/- factor in there. IE - A ton of those "front page only views" are crapflooders trying to get FP for the next article.

              Just my thoughts/opinions.

              BTW - thanks for being rational and pleasant in your replies. I've seen other authors just get rude in their comments, but this is a mature thread, and I thank you for it.
              • I have defended subscriptions in the past [slashdot.org] and I actually subscribed this week (a whole $10, hey big spender); I'm actually okay with the whole subscription thing. I'm still pissed about the 500 moderators getting $rtbl'd for modding up the Post of Doom, but I am enough of a fan to kick in the bux anyway.

                I was concerned about the problem of the hardcore fan burning 100s of points a day (trying to get fp?) but the enhancement, live today, of a daily limit on ads suppressed (default=10) makes the risk of inflated costs not so high.

                (All you can eat would still be better .. but I can see how this is difficult to implement given shared accounts and so on.)

                • by Xerithane (13482)
                  Try being one of the moderators. I still load as many pages as I did before, but no way in hell will I subscribe and help Taco run slashdot.

                  He said to me, "Fuck you." I've been reading Slashdot since the beginning. I've purchased tshirts. I've met him IRL. If he wants his little club he can do it without me. I am also trying to find a way to block ads just from slashdot and no other sites -- any ideas?

                  I come to slashdot for the community, and the comments. Let Taco give me my mod privledges back and apologize for doing it and I may rethink my stance. But until then I view Taco as an evil that slashdot doesn't need..

                  I support the slashdot blackout -- I think Taco needs to see that a large percentage of his viewers do care about the community. A community he is doing as much as he can to destroy.

                  • OK, it is clear that you have something against CmdrTaco. That's your right. However, I will not support T(H)GSB for this reason. I like Slashdot and in most cases I agree with what CmdrTaco is doing. But I will support T(H)GSB anyway, because I think that it is nice from time to time to help everybody to re-evaluate the importance of comments in a site like Slashdot.

                    I think of it as an attention catcher and as a way to improve Slashdot in the long term, not as a protest against those who run this site.

                    • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane.nerdfarm@org> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @03:44PM (#3158439) Homepage Journal
                      I have a problem with CmdrTaco because of his actions to the moderators and posters of the Troll Investigation thread. Slashdot is supposed to be a community board, and having editors mod posts down in that thread should not have happened. It should have been up to the moderators.

                      Also, I moderated up a post that raised valid points, was well thought out and concise -- now I have the $rtbl flag. CmdrTaco told me in his actions to fuck off. I do like Slashdot. I like the majority of the community here. However, I don't like the fact that CmdrTaco has no clue how to run a community -- he wants it to be self sufficient, but if it disparages him he abuses his power. I'm not protesting against CmdrTaco by participating in T(H)GSB, I'm protesting against CmdrTaco by not subscribing and blocking ads.

                      I'd be more than happy to subscribe after he apologizes to me -- until then I don't care. I don't hold grudges, I just want to be treated fairly by trying to contribute to the community and make it a better place.
                    • I have a problem with CmdrTaco because of his actions to the moderators and posters of the Troll Investigation thread.

                      This may seem overly simplistic, but if you don't like slashdot, go somewhere else. Unless you're subscribing, you're not paying for the service. If you're not paying for it, exactly what do you think you're owed?

                      Either use the site or don't use the site. Vote with your pageviews.

                    • This may seem overly simplistic, but if you don't like slashdot, go somewhere else.

                      I said nothing about disliking Slashdot. I dislike CmdrTaco (and a few other editors, but they do not make Slashdot).

                      Unless you're subscribing, you're not paying for the service.
                      Wrong, I pay with my time. Slashdot is a community site, it has a message board with threads to respond to geek events. The editors role is to choose what stories get posted, not to make sure Slashdot users post positive comments and nailing those who disagree with their stance and/or the communities sheep mentality.


                      If you're not paying for it, exactly what do you think you're owed?

                      Again, I am paying for it. I add value (questionable as to positive or negative) to slashdot with every comment I post. And, I'm not owed anything from Slashdot. The issue I have with CmdrTaco and the other editors is a personal one. They personally attacked me, yes they do run the site but I contribute a lot to this site. I like the community, and dislike some of the editors. So be it. Don't confuse Slashdot with CmdrTaco/michael/jamie -- they aren't the same.

                    • Wrong, I pay with my time.

                      You volunteer your time. Twist it into whatever little blender you wish, it still doesn't come out that you're paying for it. If you believe you're adding value and you don't like the way those who own the site are treating you, then go away. Refuse your "added value".

                      The deal is this. You're allowed to have your opinion. You're allowed to express it. That doesn't mean that anyone else has to like your opinion. And if Rob/Jamie/et al attacked you, then they probably didn't like what you had to say. They didn't take away your acocunt. They didn't block you from posting your diatribes. They just modded a few of your posts down. If you're allowed to have an opinion, so are they. And if you don't like the way they express their opinion, if you don't like the fact that they own the site and can do with it whatever the hell they want, then stop "adding value". Stop contributing. Just go away.

                      That's really the only rational recourse that you have.

                    • You volunteer your time. Twist it into whatever little blender you wish, it still doesn't come out that you're paying for it. If you believe you're adding value and you don't like the way those who own the site are treating you, then go away. Refuse your "added value".

                      Right, I volunteer. I spend my time on Slashdot being part of a community. There is no twisting logic here, and the owners of the site have nothing to do with the community (unfortunately, if the authors actually cared about the community life would be much different).

                      As for their attacks against me, they did not dislike what I said because I didn't say anything. I moderated. A privledge setup for the entire community who has a decent track record. They didn't mod my posts down, in fact Jamie has modded a few of my posts up. They are allowed to have an opinion, and I am entitled to disagree or agree. However, they are not allowed to think that they can set the $rtbl flag on a long standing user of the site for no good reason. They killed about 500 moderators for that thread -- that is abusing the power of a community based system when they are not an active part of the community.

                      I have a lot of rational recourses actually - I can stay here and post about getting the $rtbl flag set on my account for no decent reason and get some supporters and hopefully Rob will decide that Slashdot is in fact a community and he should either participate or hand the project over to someone who cares. Or, I can still post and not mod. Which is what I do now, I'm fine with it -- but I still would appreciate an apology from Rob for doing it to me. Dont' worry -- I'm not holding my breath.
                    • Thanks -- I'm not a troll, and I like to think that I do contribute positively to slashdot. I do like Slashdot because there are a lot of great people to get into debates about random things and a significant percentage are great people to talk to.

                      The reason why I would be interested in paying Slashdot for a subscription fee is to keep the community going. I really don't care about moderating, I rarely do it anyway only if I see something that is actually well thought out or damned hilarious. The fact it was taken away from me is irritating. I'm trying to help the community, hopefully it will work out ok.

                      RE: your p.s.
                      Waiting to see their next action in the legal battle before going forward with more info. Another 30 days of silence and I think I can take it that they are backing down -- then I go to the media and such. However I am thinking of spending a sunday in a business suit picketing with a sign "Carr Chevrolet Lied to Me." -- And yes, I do realize I was really really dumb. My mother never lets me forget that ;)
                    • Also, I moderated up a post that raised valid points, was well thought out and concise -- now I have the $rtbl flag.

                      I was $rtbled too.

                      What really sucks is that they didn't even have the courtesy to send me a notice that it happened -- i just realized one day that i wasn't asked to metamod anymore.

                      So i asked Taco, and he ignored me. Same for Jamie and Hemos.

                      Finally i found Taco on IRC, and he said that they don't keep logs back that far of what the actual infraction was. All he knew was that i "moderated up a troll"

                      I never moderated up an actual troll, so i wanted to see what the post was. But like i said, by the time i actually found out that i had been rtbled, the logs had been destroyed so there was no way to defend myself.

                      I'm a good user. My karma's been at 50 for years. I never troll. I've been around Slashdot for a long time. But Taco decided that he didn't like the way i moderate, and so with no warning or even notice, he banned me from ever moderating or metamodding again.

                      And i don't even know what i did wrong.
                    • Exactly my issue. Hell, you could have mod'd up seth's post in the PoD and still got $rtbl'd.

                      Fuck that. Rob, kiss my royal white irish ass. At least I get the piece of mind that as far as cash flow goes, I'm a liability instead of an assett. Too bad I'm still adding onto this site. I posted in response to Jamie, I will be more than surprised if he responds back to me.
            • Quoth CmdrTaco:
              "Again, I'm talking value in purely economic sense ;)"

              ... which is exactly the wrong sense in which to think about comment posters. Ever. They are not an economic drain--period, not in any way. They are a net-gain, regardless of the bandwidth or hardware utilized.

              You are falling prey to the same disease; thinking of the community in only two dimensions when their value is multi-dimensional.

              You cannot think of comments and the posters in a pure economic sense. Or, actually, you can, but only if you include both sides. What is the sum total of man hours added to Slashdot by volunteer workers? What is the sum total of free advice given, if cast in terms of consultancy fees? Where are the economic figures for that? Add those into the mix, and you'll find that Slashdot likely owes a lot more to its hordes of volunteers than it spends on them.

              • by the_quark (101253) on Wednesday March 20, 2002 @04:01AM (#3192874) Homepage
                Look, YOU are the one being idiotic here. No offense. :)

                There's a basic equation that has to be balanced, or /. goes away, community, or no.

                The simple version of that equation is:

                S - C = P

                Where S is Sales and C is Costs, and P is Profit. P has to be >= 0.

                Arguably, VA would like that 0 to be some much larger number, but the simple version is that a number &lt 0 means (eventually) no more /. Rob and company are facing down corporate masters who are seeing C get bigger while S gets smaller, with the right side of the equation already less than zero.

                Any points about the economic value of the comments system to the posters and readers are irellevent. That system could be making each of those groups literal millions of dollars, in actual cash, but if VA can't get a dime of it, it doesn't help the above equation and /. will eventually go out of business.

                Now, back to that equation. On the "S" side of things, we have dimininshing prices per page view. On the "C" side of things, we have more and more people reading SlashDot. Normally this would be a great thing, but right now /. is in the "we lose money on every one, but we make it up in volume!" mode. Where /. is right now, is, "50% of the sales from ads [i.e., pageviews] come from people who never read comments." Those same 50% commit far less than 50% of the bandwidth portion of the "C" equation. Malda and company have simply realized that, while the /. community may have some value (and, I believe, they WOULD LIKE TO SAVE IT), it doesn't keep the lights on, and, if they can't keep said lights on, the community has no place to exist.

                From a pure business perspective, their best decision might be to simply turn the forums off, frankly. They'd lose a big chunk of S, but they'd lose an even bigger chunk of C, which would make P bigger, maybe bigger enough to get over zero. Because they agree with you that the forums have some intrinsic value (and I'll agree that they make /. some value from people who are into it and submit stories), they're willing to let the forums leech off the people who actually make /. money - the people who read the front page and click on the ads. The people who posts lots of crap on /. and reload the forum pages over and over cost /. money, and it can't pay for that forever.

                Personally, I'd like to see them redesign the forums aggressively to remove the massive bandwidth they use. I think an intelligent system could significantly change the forum economics.

                Anyway, I'm rambling from my point: Your idealism about the value of the forums is very quaint. You might even be right that they are extremely valuable (although I doubt it when you include the signal to noise ratio, and the time wasted slogging through trolls to get the good stuff). But the fact of the matter is that they are a DRAIN on /.'s resources, and as long as /. doesn't have any spare money on the P side of the equation, their primary concern has to be getting that equation balanced. Any other focus is going to cause VA to take its ball and go home, which is GAURANTEED to kill /. forums.

                To put this in a much simpler setting: I run a Wolfenstein server, called The Quark's Challenge (TQC). It uses about a megabit of very high quality bandwidth. It has a devoted following, who REALLY enjoy playing on it.

                A megabit of very high quality bandwidth at retail or near-retail prices costs about $300/mo (including rack space). I've been utilizing some spare capacity of my company's (bandwidth that came with some rack space we needed, but that we don't actually utilized). So, the equation above, for TQC has been 0 - 0 = 0. Break-even (not including my time maintaining it, of course).

                Under this economic model, TQC has grown a community of hundreds of players who enjoy it very, very much. I'd be willing to wager that it's worth threee dollars a month to these people, in the value they get for wasting their time in an enjoyable fashion.

                The contract my company was getting that rack space under is about to expire, and my company is not going to renew (we don't need the space there, anymore). So, my equation is about to look like:

                0 - 300 = -300

                So, I have here a community that is worth something like $300 to the community that uses it. And it's worth something extra to me - I get to have my name in lights and server where no one ever gives me shit (for more than a few seconds, anyway...). So, I'd be willing to chip in $20/mo:

                20 - 300 = -280

                But, that's still $-280 in my pocket, despite that $300 in value to the community you keep talking about. If I run that equation for any months at all, I'll decide that TQC isn't worth $300/month to me, and that'll be that for the community.

                So, I've either got to reduce costs to save the community, or increase sales (a tip jar, perhaps? Or subscriptions...) But the point is, no matter how much I love the community, and no matter how much the community loves TQC, unless their dollars can pay my hosting bills, it's a losing situation.

                /. is in the same boat. Vacuous arguments about the value of the community are great in a socialistic way, but they simply don't pay the hosting bill. And if the hosting bill doesn't get paid, you'll be writing notes to yourself about how awful it was that they killed /., sticking them on your fridge, and writing "+5 insightful" on em yourself because there isn't gonna be anybody HERE to moderate em.
      • Stow your bleating self-righteousness. I suppose you'd find it ironic that Thomas Jefferson's First Amendment was used to criticize him in the colonial papers. That's not irony--it's the whole point of the damn thing.

        I support the basic idea behind THGSCB ... added a link in my sig. But I think we need to be really quite polite about the whole thing. Phrases like "stow your bleating self-righteousness" don't really help the issue at all (not to mention the fact I don't think it acurately characterized jamie's comment).

        Taco and some of the editors think that the value comments add to the system aren't worth reflecting in subscription prices. Some /. readers feel differently. The comment blackout is a great way to make a test. That's all this is about to me, and I think that's all it should be about to anyone. Calling the editors names won't help a thing.

        Jamie quite correctly states that the attention given to comment features in slashdot's system shows they _do_ value comments. In other words, even though their values aren't showing up in the pricing structure, they show up in the efforts made on adding the features in the first place. The sole benchmark of attitudes doesn't have to be financial. They HAVE built a first class comment system, for which we only have to ignore ads in order to use for free, and which we can use to criticize slashdot editors. That should say something.

        So join THBSCB (and yes, I think we should throw the word "Comment" in there, because it accurately reflects what we'd be doing) and politely encourage others to do so. Let the editors draw their own conclusions from it, and don't prejudice them with vitriol beforehand.
        • But I think we need to be really quite polite about the whole thing. Phrases like "stow your bleating self-righteousness" don't really help the issue at all (not to mention the fact I don't think it acurately characterized jamie's comment).

          You're right. My temper gets the best of me sometimes.

          I've tried to tone down my accusations in my subsequent posts.

          However, I did find that Jamie's comment, ...It's ironic that people are using that very platform, which represents a large investment in person-hours, to argue that we don't care about reader feedback. to be farcical. Should we only use that platform to adulate the "editors"? Or is that very platform the perfectly obvious place to work for a change, or reform, or to better the entire community?

          Jamie quite correctly states that the attention given to comment features in slashdot's system shows they _do_ value comments. In other words, even though their values aren't showing up in the pricing structure, they show up in the efforts made on adding the features in the first place.

          I argue, however, that the "editors" make decisions without a full understanding of the value returned by the community. Malda's apples-to-apples comparison was (and is) a poor comparison. It is such broken logic it cannot stand on it's own.

          I don't doubt the "editors" position that they care about comments and comment posters. I believe that they do not care enough. It shows in ways subtle, and sometimes not so subtle. Some might argue that it shows in how the subscription system was designed--I don't, myself, but some do.

          Regardless, thanks for supporting this minor protest. I hope it makes some change, if only a small one.

      • why not just don't go to the site if you don't like the way it's run. there's other areas for public discussions... i don't get it. you're calling for a partial boycot. something like "i'll go to the game, but i'm not buying any more popcorn...". not going to the game makes more sense to me, and if you want to be vocal about why you're not going to the game, so be it, but don't go to the game, complain about the general management and then say you're not buying the popcorn... it just doesn't make sense.
        • because we want to go to slashdot, just like we want to go to the game. we want to change slashdot. that's the point of protesting, to change or advocate something. simply boycotting is often not enough. slashdot is a fantastic site that could potentially be even greater. but it will not achieve that greatness without our protesting. if every protester leaves, we will accomplish nothing. slashdot lives on with a smaller audience, and the same system in place.

  • by cperciva (102828) on Tuesday March 12, 2002 @11:37AM (#3149127) Homepage
    But I think adding the dates as well is helpful. That way people who don't bother following the link will still see the date steadily approaching.
  • Honestly, why do people care? No one is forcing your to subscribe, yet everyone is complaining about this. If you don't like how the site is run, leave.

    I now have a post it note on my monitor, I will make sure I post, comment, and submit more during the 21-27th. I like this site, and as soon as there are paypal alternatives, I will subscribe, /disable/ not viewing ads (whoa! who would have thought, someone giving money to a site without taking advantage of the benefits), and will continue clicking the ads. I appreciate this site, I use it regularly, and and I am not going to let a bunch of free loaders try and ruin it.

    In other words, get off your high horse and stop being so damn hypocritical.

    • Re:Arggggh!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rho (6063)

      You miss the point entirely. This has nothing to do with subscriptions. Read my statement again.

      This is purely a reminder to the "editors" that Slashdot is what it is due to the contributed efforts of hundreds or thousands of readers. It has nothing to do with subscriptions. As I say in my statement, I will probably subscribe myself.

      Read it again, then think about it again.

    • Honestly, why do people care? No one is forcing your to subscribe, yet everyone is complaining about this. If you don't like how the site is run, leave.

      This isn't about subscriptions. This is about making a point to the people who run Slashdot about the value of the community.
      • This isn't about subscriptions. This is about making a point to the people who run Slashdot about the value of the community.

        Look, Rob has said, in effect, "Community, I love ya. You're why I built this thing and why I'm still here. But you cost an arm and leg, and I can't make my main revenue decisions to reward you, I've got to make them to keep the business open."

        So, there are two possibilities: Either A) he's right. In which case all of these people threatening boycotts over getting dissed by the person paying the bills because you don't make any money need to slink back home with their tails between their legs. Or, B), he's wrong. In which case /. will implode economically and you can all go bitch about how shortsighted he was, someplace else.

        I believe the bottom line here is that the community is a lot more valuable to you (collectively) than it is to VA. You care more about the community than VA does, since all they care about is money (that basically being the definition of a corporation). If your community makes them money, they'll care about it. If it costs them money, they'll want to ditch it. If it makes them less money than something else they're doing, they'd rather do the something else.

        That doesn't mean Rob and company don't care about and value the community - I think they're the ultimate hardcores and will do whatever they can to keep it running, even to the extent of relieving VA of some cash to do it. But bottom line from all the folks at VA we've heard from is, while the community is of great value to itself, VA has been utterly unable to monetize that value. Since all VA cares about is money, the unwashed newsreaders (who value /. much less themselves than you all do) are their priority, because they make VA more money than you do.

        Let's run some numbers. Costs:

        $5k/month in bandwidth
        $70k/month in personel (12 people, fully loaded)

        Plus rent and various sundries. So, /. costs $75k per month to run.

        On the Sales front, hemos says, "The CPM [is] greater than 5$ [sic] or so." He also says they sell for actual cash money "something like 18% of all pages." So, they have an inventory of 30 million pages, but they only sell 5.4 million of them.

        5400000 * (5 / 1000) = 27000

        So, their monthly loss (not including some other costs we didn't figure in, but also not including some non-cash income like ad trades) is on the order of $48k. I'm leaving aside subscription revenue at the moment because we have essentially no data on it at this time.

        Leaving aside the single intangible of stories that are contributed by hardcore posters who wouldn't contribute if there were no comments and which wouldn't be contributed by someone else, it's easy to now start to get at the cost/benefit of hardcore users.

        The real issue is programmer and administrative time keeping comments running. Rob has said that half the users never get past the front page. Let's assume that represents 1/3 of the daily pageviews. I've seen no data on this and would love to see it if anyone has it. But the assumption here is that hardcore readers and posters make up 2/3 of the pageviews.

        They have a staff of 12 - a lot of them have to be spending a lot of time on comment scalability, database maintenence, etc. If we dumped comments entirely, I'd bet we could lay off at least 2/3 of them - equivilant to the pageviews we just lost. So, that's -8 headcount.

        So, our new commentless /. looks like:

        $2k/month in bandwidth
        $23k/month in personel (4 people, fully loaded)

        $24k/month total cost

        Sales - this is the tricky bit. We reduce inventory from 30M per month to 10M per month. But we still have more than we can sell! So, we can still sell the same number of pageviews:

        5400000 * (5 / 1000) = 27000

        Or, a net profit of $3k per month by eliminating "the most valuable" part of slashdot.

        Just for the sake of argument, let's do the reverse - let's get rid of news and assume all the posters would still hang out in their valuable community.

        That cuts PV down to 20M/month, and headcount down to 8:

        $4k/month in bandwidth
        $47k/month in salary

        $51k/month in total cost

        But, the same above logic applies on pageviews, so that number is still $27k per month, for a net loss to VA of $24k/month.

        The problem is that the assets comments consume are not proportinal to the amount of income they bring in.

        Now, you can make a lot of arguments about the intangible value comments bring, in attracting advertisers, getting stories, etc. But the bottom line is that comments don't make enough money to justify their current expenditures.

        There are two ways to fix this: Cut comments or increase sales. /. is trying to increase sales two ways - one is by directly selling subscriptions. If the hardcore all buy subscriptions (instead of participating in some juvenile boycott), we can effectively sell more pages. When you pay $5 for 1000 pages, you've just made it so that 100% of the pages you view have a $5 CPM ad on them! Right now, at 18% sales rate, it's as if all the pages you viewed had a $.90 CPM on them. If all the hardcores did that and kept it paid up that would show Rob and company your value. The other is by trying new ad formats to sell more of the inventory and get more money for the inventory they do sell.

        Given the numbers above, if they can raise that blended CPM (including subscription sales) to $15 CPM, they'll be profitable. Or, if they can sell 50% of their pageviews (including subscriptions), they'll be profitable.

        Bottom line: You want to show Rob how important comments are, you should subscribe, or stop blocking ads. Anyone who is not either looking at and clicking on ads or subscribing has absolutely no right to complain about the decisions VA makes to keep its doors open.
  • I have a site that gets a good amount of hits (note: not the elitemrp.net site listed in my info).. If someone were to create a graphic (a good looking one), standard mini banner size maybe (110x40), that has some info on T(H)GSB, i would gladly put it on my site and link back to this journal, and i'm sure others would too... I'd make the image but I'm too lazy (my lazyness should come in handy during the black out hehe)
  • >This is where the (Hopefully) comes in. This is only meaningful if enough free content-providers
    >(i.e., comment posters) agree to go along and participate. If there is only me and a handful of
    >others who cease normal activities during that week, it will be pretty meaningless. Barely a
    >dent will be made, and Malda and the other "editors" will never realize the incredible value
    >they receive from comment posters.

    And this is what will happen. To think otherwise is to fool yourself. I have never seen a single boycott that works, and the pool of lazyness that is slashdot is not precisely a militant's dream.
    Still, good luck.

    >T(H)GSB will be during the week of April 21 through April 27. Easy to remember, the full
    >moon in April falls on the 27th.

    Whoa, man, not everyone is that aware of when the full moon falls, and I'm not sure knowing it by heart makes you more trustworhty ;)
  • Hrmmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Thursday March 14, 2002 @02:53PM (#3163576) Homepage Journal
    I am a karma whore and would generally scoff at such an idea. However, I am closing on my house the 19th of April and plan to spend that next week painting.

    So you got lucky.

  • The boycott should last only one day, in my opinion.
  • I've posted 1395 comments as of this moment in time (well, increment that one for this comment).

    It is rare day that I do not comment here on slashdot. Its a pretty cool thing. I like slashdot. I subscribed less than days ago and I've used 66% of my pages already.

    But you are right. Count me out. Thats the week of my 21st birthday, and I won't even be reading slashdot at all. Its going in my firewall hosts file that whole week.
  • And the point is? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by singularity (2031) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (tramlawon)> on Sunday March 17, 2002 @12:35PM (#3176909) Homepage Journal
    So what do you hope to ultimately accomplish with this boycott?

    Do you want to show CmdrTaco that, indeed, the comments are valued at Slashdot and that he should not get rid of them?

    I do not think that Taco has ever even considered doing that.

    Do you want to show CmdrTaco that, indeed, the comments are valued at Slashdot and that he should force people to post?

    Do you want to show CmdrTaco that, indeed, the comments are valued at Slashdot and that he should wake up and smell the coffee?

    Do you want to show CmdrTaco that, indeed, the comments are valued at Slashdot and that he should turn Slashdot over to someone who will work to keep Slashdot comments valued?

    Do you want to show CmdrTaco that, indeed, the comments are valued at Slashdot and that he should stop looking at server logs?

    *OR* do you want to show CmdrTaco that, indeed, the comments are valued at Slashdot and that he should admit that "Of course you are 100% right, and I am wrong?"

    I am guessing that this last one is the reason for a lot of this.
    • by jamie (78724)
      I really don't understand what the point is, either. I happen to be one of the Slash coders. We spend a lot of time improving its codebase, and probably 80% of the code is tied to comments in one way or another. Over the last couple of years, we've released, improved, rewritten, and released some really kickass software that is designed to support huge discussions -- not only on Slashdot, but anywhere else people want to run it. A lot of the work that I personally do is maintenance and improvements on portions of the code that is related to comments. That's most of what Slash is. Comments/discussion is the main thing it does well, it's the main thing that distinguishes Slash from most other Content Management Systems.

      Most of the Slash editors and authors read comments obsessively. I read comments on almost every story posted to the mainpage, at threshold 0. I've read the discussion in this journal, and the journal entry itself, and I can't figure out what anyone wants from us. As far as I can tell, people are upset because they (deliberately?) misunderstand one or two lines of what Rob typed over the course of a three-hour IRC session. But I can't tell what this boycott is supposed to make us do, or realize, or change.

      Should we look at server logs more? Or ignore them? Should we stop paying any attention to Slashdot's financials? Or should we be more bottom-line? Should we keep doing what we've been doing and just not talk about it anymore? Or should we pat comment-posters on the heads every day, and tell them what good little comment-posters they are?

      Always judge people by their actions, not words. Since before I joined this company two years ago, it's been funding development of this (open-source!) code which is highly optimized to handle large-volume discussions. I think the logical conclusion is that we care about those discussions and recognize their importance.

      Post your thoughts here, I'll check back on this journal occasionally.

      • You forget this is not anti anything, all we are trying to do is prove a point.
        This is not the means to an end. Just a couple of guys trying to be noticed.
        • In other words, my explanation that you want CmdrTaco to say "You are right, I was wrong" is the major reason behind this.

          Add to this the fact that you have a dozen people posting on this journal, each saying they are going to join the boycott for completely different reasons.

          It seems to me that if the editos notice the boycott, and ask themselves "Why did people do this?" they are going to walk away with a confusion of answers and no real explanation.

          I think that comments are very important to Slashdot, and I think that all editors would agree with that statement. You are not going to "prove" that point to them.

          While we are speaking of rants, you can check out some of my views on some things. [slashdot.org]
      • Personally, I think you guys do a pretty good job in general. Considering the amount of people that you have to deal with, especially, you have to find balance, and I think /. provides some good discussions by sometimes intelligent people. Is there a perfect system for this? Most likely not. You have to find a reasonable compromise on everything, and I for one am reasonably happy with the compromises you've made.

        My primary problem is with getting $rtbl'd (as far as I can tell) from modding on the Post of Death, aka the First Slashdot Troll Post Investigation. Honestly, I thought the comment was very interesting, considering that I was a relatively active moderator and almost always read at -1 while I was modding (though I read at +2 on a normal basis). Who knew that by spending one innocent little mod point I'd get canned for the rest of my Slashdot career? I wasn't trying to promote anything sinister, evil, or even necessarily anti-slashdot. As much as anything, I was fascinated that the comment had had (IIRC) ~200 moderations done on it at that time. Is there any hope of getting mod/metamod privileges back? It's work on my part, but I do enjoy giving back and promoting thoughtful discussion.

        Thanks for the effort you put into slashcode. It appears to work fairly well, though I've never looked at it myself. The problem, as often, appears to be with the users more than the software. Keep up the good work, and thanks for your interest in this thread.
      • Re:And the point is? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Xerithane (13482)
        I'll give you my reason:

        You guys $rtbl'd me without cause or notification. You know how that makes me feel? I've been on this site since before you Jamie and you guys think you can take away a community privledge? Not that I modded much anyway, but it's bullshit what you guys did.

        I like Slashdot, but the more and more bullshit happens because some of the editors refuse to get down off a pedestal and join the community the more I wish someone would dump the money into setting up an alternate.

        I've been judging people by their actions -- and what I have found is that Rob does not value the comment posters or moderators at all. Otherwise the Post of Doom (I hate that name) would have been handled much differently. Maybe you guys need to hire someone to actually deal with the community, just a thought. As for the Slash code, please don't go off about how big of a deal it is. It's a message board, plain and simple. EZboard has you guys beat out flat as far as volume goes.

        Sorry for any venom, I'm trying to be frank while still mostly nice -- I'm unhappy and considering I've been here since Feb 1998 and I get treated like that I feel I have a right to be.
      • Personally, I would much rather see this handled through e-mail and honesty and in private.

        All this entire thing does is reduce the quality of an interesting and large community.

        I have gotten modded down, lost karma and such by being in the wrong thread at the right time. Not really a big deal overall, but I do sometimes think (like I did just now) 'should I post on this one?' Will it cost me?

        ./ should not be like that.

        There are not enough problems that the staff of slashdot and those that have them could not work them out over a weeks worth of healthy discussion.

        Anything else is just lame and a waste of time...
      • Jamie, thanks for clarifying.

        First, I want to admit my guilty-pleasure: EverQuest. Why is this relevant? I see the same sorts of community problems there, but on a different scale. It's all real-time and there tends to be a younger audience which is much more voiciferous in their feedback, so I've gotten a good feel for what the problems are.

        First off, you run one of the most useful site on the net. Period.

        However, you do a piss-poor job of reminding your users of why they apreciate that. What I'm talking about is PR, plain and simple. When you roll out a subscription service, you know that there's going to be some percentage of the population that will say, "hey, we shouldn't have to pay for this crap!" Hell, you'll get this response if you say you're going to start charging for diamonds.

        What you needed to do was soften the blow by reminding people that they WANT to be here. You needed to make sure that the majority of /. understood that that minority that would complain were not the problem.

        I appreciate /. more than most, I think, but even I found myself sympathizing with the whiners. Rob's comment (taken out of context or not) was a mistake. Not couching the subscripting in very firm terms of paying for the next round of development on Slash was a mistake (the subject of the annoncement should have been something like "Subscriptions To Slashdot To Fund Next Slash").

        I agree with the author of this journal that comments are the life-blood of Slashdot. They're the reason that the site is useful. I think you understand that as well. But, don't let yourselves get out-PRed by the trolls.
  • by pangur (95072)
    Um... your sig that I ckicked on shows the blackout dates as 3/21- 3/?. That's in March. If your want the blackout to be successful (and I will participate by not reading that week), then you will have to change your sig.
  • by pangur (95072)
    I may have jumped too soon. Apparently the link was to your journal but the sig wasn't yours. It was someone else that can't do math. Sorry.
  • I'll be camping in the desert that week anyway :-D
  • Ooooh, activism. I really like this idea. I'm in agreement with the comments-make-slashdot-cool crowd, and I'm not sure where the others are getting off at about the whole subscription thing. Clearly this effort isn't about whether subscriptions are a good idea or not, and anyone who assumes that that's what this is about is a bit on the absent-minded side.

    If editors don't value the opinions of commenters or moderators, then who's opinions do they value? Who's best interests are they supporting? I understand that it must be nice to have an ego boost for editing such a popular site, and there is nothing wrong with that, but either the ego thing is getting entirely out of hand or there are other factors (e.g., money, corporate, politics) affecting their behaviour towards user movements such as the Troll Post Investigation. It shows that some editors are acting on the bit of the childish side, unbecoming of a supposedly professional journalism site. Somehow they believe that they're credibility is affected by such posts and need to smack it down; and assuming that something like that will be ignored by the general user community is an insult to our intelligence, making us seem like a bunch of sheep. But these pigs aren't going to get the satisfaction.

    This is why I am going to stay away from Slashdot from April 21 to April 27. If some find this blackout unrealistic, just remember that activism only works if you take an active role, and not if you treat the situation with apathy (sort of like the "but my vote doesn't really count" rubbish). Take charge of your beliefs and follow through with them!

  • See how fair-minded the editors really are and submit this plan as a story. It is something of interest to the slashdot community and thus ranks as a viable story option. Also, if they are actually interested in learning any such thing, it will be more effective if people are notified. if they aren't interested in learning about how important comments are then it's a waste of time anyways.
  • by JWhitlock (201845) <.John-Whitlock. .at. .ieee.org.> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:50PM (#3188995)
    I've seen two websites go from a free site to a pay-for-some-services site. They are:

    Salon.com - started charging for some stories, for forums

    Fool.com - started charging for forums.

    I was not a member of Salon.com's forums, but I was posting on Fool.com's forums. I paid for both sites, and saw the same cycle at both sites. The cycle is:

    After much soul-searching, the current admins of the site decide on a pay model rather than a free model. The top admins write an essay on why the new model is necessary to announce the upcoming change.

    Heated debate ensues. The admins spend more time than usual in the forums debating the topic, sometimes rewarding those that agree in a insightful way, and punishing those that disagree in a crude way.

    Camps emerge - those that want to support the site anyway, those that are disgusted that the admins are trying to make money off of their content, those that decide that the deal makes financial sense, etc. etc. The wide-spread debate does NOT change the smallest detail of the original plan.

    A boycott is announced at a future date. The boycott comes and goes. Some of the boycott announcers forget themselves and post anyway. The results are inconclusive.

    D-Day occurs. Forum traffic goes way down - lots of "are you here?" messages. In some ways, it is because the most vocal have left. In other ways, it's because the ones who paid are now thinking - "would I pay for the comment I'm about to write?".

    Within one week, things are back to normal, except for the addition of "I'm paying for this crap?" messages and "This post is worth the fees alone!" messages.

    Within one month, things are back to normal, expect that there are fewer rabble-rousers.

    But go ahead with the boycott. It is an important part of the process, and may give you an idea of the size of your faction and the ability of that faction to make a clear statement. Good luck.

  • Geeze . . . (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cjpez (148000) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:19PM (#3190045) Homepage Journal
    Seems a little extreme. All Taco was doing was running around some logic. And he said himself, "I don't mean to dismiss the value of comment posters." What more do you want? Anything after that is just some logical look at the numbers that slashdot actually gets. Doesn't really seem worth all the effort of this meta-discussion.

    Of course, evidentally I find the meta-discussion worth adding to, so it seems I'm actually a hypocrite. Whee! :)

    Whatever. I like the comments and I've never felt they've been marginalized.

    Just had an idea: Imagine if a whole bunch of people decide to go along with this plan of yours and don't post at all during the week. I'm guessing that the people who participate meaningfully in it will be people who post regularly to Slashdot. Infrequent posters like myself won't matter, because I'm just as likely not to post as post during any given week. However, most of the time, I don't post because I've come into the discussion when there's already a hell of a lot of posts, and it turns out that any point I felt like making has already been made a number of times and moderated to hell and back. :)

    So when us infrequent posters notice that there's actually some room for us in the discussion, your plan would kind of fall apart if suddenly there's just a whole bunch of "new" people filling the empty holes.

    Add to that the number of people who won't even be aware of the movement because they don't bother to follow .sig links or just don't care about meta-discussions (which I actually find quite interesting), and it becomes a rather dismal prospect. :)

    Or it could be wildly successful beyond your, um, wildest dreams. (heh) Yeah.

  • Reading this interesting page, I have to wonder what has been done to organize this week-long boycott of slashdot posting?

    Personally, I think Rob's statements hold a lot of truth and really help put the (relative lack of) value of comment posting into perspective. It's easy to get really wrapped up in small on-line communities, and I've seen a lot of these where a lot people had some really positive experiences. Slashdot, saddly, doesn't build the sort of community that many other forums do, largely because each topic lasts for only a day or less. That's just my opinion.

    Still, there is some intangible value in the "community", and perhaps that value is part of what makes slashdot special to that smaller portion of readers who even bother to read the comments. Perhaps some people really do feel a strong sense of community at slashdot? It's easy to see how Rob's opinion could sound really offensive to someone who feels like they've really contributed to slashdot and is part of a real community (though personally, I see it as more of standing on a soapbox sounding-off to random passer-bys than truely participating in a community).

    In the context of selling advertisements (the context of Rob's recent comments, in case anyone forgot), it really is a stats game with funny terms like "pageviews", "impressions", "clickthrough", and so on.

    Still, I have to wonder what would happen if there really were a boycott.

    It would seem like an effective approach, though somewhat intrustive to people's mailboxes, would be to grab all the +2 to +5 comments from the last several weeks, manually harvest all the available email addresses (almost everyone puts some anti-spam stuff in), and then email them a really well composed and compelling plea to convince all those users not to post for that week.

    The difficult part is writing that message so it really does appeal to the average enlightened (or karma whoring) poster. I suspect that putting this sort of work into the boycott will not actually happen, or the vendetta against Rob will shine through and ruin the message.

    Anyway, just a few random thoughts, as I try to balance my perspective that this post is probably among the least value-adding I've written (since it'll be seen by so few people) and my urge to press the "Submit" button instead of just closing this windows instead of commiting the post.... as I will seriously consider in the third week of April if anyone who is passionate about this boycott goes to the trouble to do some real organizing and harvests my email address from the numerous posts I've made (including some +5's) and sends me a well-written and compelling, perhaps even personalized request to participate in the boycott.
  • You guys take Slashdot way too seriously. The comments has only served to devalue the site. Everyone I know who is seriously into computing and technology doesn't read the comments (or Slashdot at all) and rather looks down upon most of the commenters.
  • I'm going to take part. Not because I am anti-subscription, but because I dislike how subscriptions have been implemented.

    Before I get the cheapskate reply: I've already subscribed. Stupid? Perhaps. Validates the system? Quite possibly. However, I didn't subscribe to stop some ads. My reasons for subscribing were due to the fact that I've enjoyed Slashdot for well over 3 years now, and $AU10 isn't going to break my budget anytime soon. Besides, OmniWeb blocks the ads anyway. Ads are not why I paid; I paid as a "thank you" for the past three years.

    However, that does not mean I like the current direction. I dislike a subscription system that does nothing for the subscribers (yes, I consider stopping ads as nothing; I can stop those anyway). But most of all, I hate a subscription system that punishes the people that contribute the most. Punishment for supporting a site? Moronic. If participating in something that seems so futile it has 'hopefully' in the title is the only way I can attempt to get my feeling across, then that's what I'll do.

    During T(H)GSB week, along with not reading/posting comments or submitting stories, I'm going to stop using my Slashdot ad credits and just block via OmniWeb again. If CmdrTaco feels that comments cost him more "in purely economic sense", I think that blocking his ads and reading his site for 'free' will cost him even more.

    CmdrTaco, I love the site, but please stop punishing those who post with higher subscription fees. Rewards (extra features) make people feel happier then threats ("big ads or money!").

    And bring back Geeks in Space ;)
  • including myself at times :)

    but yesterday .. i posted a comment (im currently 48 karma i beleive) and got 9 responses .. NONE of them were on topic. 7 of them were trying to point holes in an example i was making.

    WHAT use is that? no new information was shared .. and thats at least 9 peoples BW alone that the site was charged for.

    I think Rob is right .. contributors for the most part .. *ARE* actually detrimental to /.

    3 years ago it was a little bit diffent. (not better .. god 'first posts abounded' just different)

    we could cut easily 70% of the comments out .. and still have repeats etc. just the most interesting ones.

    I gave $$ to /. becuase i appreciate the articles .. and not having to find them myself all the time .. not for some ass correcting my spelling when i point people to more information on a subject.

    (my 2cents)
  • . . . of course, is something far more sinister. Fortunately, the meta-movement put forth in this journal will help mine as well. READ ON [slashdot.org], if you dare.
  • Since being $rtbl'd, I've stopped submitting comments on /. articles (journal entry comments don't count). If they don't want me modding, I don't want to play. I believe I made some good contributions to the community (karma 50 for the better part of a year, just as evidence), but again, I know when I'm not wanted. :)

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