Just sent this to firstname.lastname@example.org ... please everyone do the same with your comments. Spam them into compliance with our demands! ;)
I have been reading and participating in discussions on Slashdot since 1996.* Over the years, there have been few times when I have gone more than a few days without reading /. /. is my connection to the broader geek community and the discussions on the site have been influential in shaping me as a geek. As an older geek, /. gives me a chance to share what I’ve learned and also keep up with how people are thinking about new technologies.
I have yet to find a site that is as comprehensive in its community and coverage as /. Let me restate that: there is no other place on the internet as essential to the geek community as /. Nothing comes close. /. works because of its community. The community values /. because it’s given us a place to discuss a broad range of topics in a civilized manner. Without the community, /. will simply be another discussion board on a news site, with loud voices screaming their opinions and very little civilized discourse.
If you haven’t noticed by the comments on many of the stories recently, the community will disperse if the beta is rolled out. I won’t go into the reasons why (there are thousands of great comments explaining the shortcomings of the new site) other than to say that the new format discourages discourse and community and encourages quick comments with little context.
Deep, threaded, moderated discussions that are easy read and inviting to participate in are what makes the current site work. The conventions for discourse that have evolved over the last 17 or so years, many enabled by the design of the site, are what allows the community to function. Change it too much, and the community will disperse and go their separate ways - off to Reddit and 4chan and the comment sections of Ars, Wired, Toms, and other tech sites.
The managers in charge of this redesign are facing probably the biggest decision of their career. By going forward with the beta, they will surely meet their quarterly goals. But, in doing so, they will be directly responsible for the destruction of one of the most important communities on the internet.
Please make the right decision and don’t go forward with the beta as it currently exists. (and note: redesigns are fine, just understand why your site works and don’t destroy its soul in the process)
-Chris aka rockmuelle
*My 6 digit ID is only due to the fact that I valued privacy in the early days of the internet and was reluctant to sign up for accounts anywhere.