I think it is fair to say, at this point, that Slashdot no longer has the appeal or the news aggregating value that Digg.com does. The comment moderation that made Slashdot novel and elevated it above other tech sites, has turned into a pun-heavy ignoramous-athon. Editorial control of content is obviously a hindrance - in time spent reviewing before publishing, in offering people someone to blame for "dupes" in every post, and for not allowing geeks to decide for themselves what specfic stories (not just comments) are most intersting to them.
Slashdot sucks, and I'll tell you why. Moderation on this site does not work. Posts that are +5 tend to be "funny", good put downs, or rambling narratives. (at least that's how I feel about it).
Moderation is a great idea. But once the number of posts to a story moves past the 200 mark, it becomes impossible to read and judge what deserves to be modded up. The sheer number of posts makes it expensive in terms of the time required to read them. And reading upwards of 200 posts mentally wears down anyone's mind, especially the sort of crap that gets posted every day on slashdot.
I believe that what is needed is a way for moderators to more easily view posts. In my opinion there are a couple of ways to make moderation an easier, more efficient process.
The first that comes to mind is the use of some form of color coding. Reading on a computer screen is a very line-by-line, "serial", process. Whereas reading a physical page, like that of a newspaper, can occur quickly, and in a sense in a page-at-once, or a "parallel" fashion. Newspapers usuallly break their pages up into subtly distinguished "areas", with bold headings, which make it easy to glance at a page and home in on what you might be interested in. A typical web-page at slashdot, or any other webpage, offers a very limited sort of visual sorting, and heavily relies on the viewer's capacity to read every line of text placed before them, and then to decide what is appropriate. Physical constraints limit a web-page from doing what newspapers do. Newspapers use different areas of a page to delineate different portions of information.
I believe that web-sites, and especially slashdot, would benefit from an appeal to readers instinct to visually group things - and use fields of color to mark separations that might occur in a newspaper. I think that this sort of color coding would be especially useful for moderators. If every ranking a post could have would correspond to a color, or if the number of replies to a post gave it a certain shade, it would make reading through 400 posts easier. A moderator could focus in on all the +2 posts quickly, and be able to visually sort a page without having to read every article.
This color coding doesn't have to be garish, or ugly. All I'm really thinking about as I write this is color coding a part of the little bar of color that has the title of a person's post.
Additionally, moderators should have the ability to selectively view posts that are at a certain level of moderation. For example, a moderators might might to view all +1 posts, with at least three replies. Or a moderator might want to view all "Funny" posts, or all "Off-topic" posts, because they want to get rid of crap they dopn't like, or give credit to an opinion that they feel is being undervalued. As things stand now, it is practically impossible for moderators to find posts that they do find comparatively "Interesting" because it is such a fight just read posts.
So there are my two suggestions. First, some sort of color coding to visually separate text fields, and posts. And second, giving moderators the ability to filter posts, and view them according to Score, and number of replies. Hopefully these two things will allow moderation to function to make slashdot filter for ideas, and not a water cannon for cheap come-backs and lame jokes.
Anybody who has ever dealt with a broken system that they are fiscally unable to trouble-shoot knows how I feel right now.
I've seen too many poor typists and noobs post their illogical screeds against some piece of hardware to start complaining about my current problems. However, as a devout garage-mechanic style computer user, I feel let down by my abilities and buying decisions this time around the upgrade loop.
I bought a motherboard that doesn't seem to work. The problem is that I am not sure if it is the new motherboard, the new CPU, the old RAM, the new video card, the new power supply, or the new case's speaker wire that is to blame. Ack! What to do when you don't have the capacity to test the equipment you have?
I've done lots of stuff tonight. One of the highlights include opening my circa 1995 486, and connecting it's internal speaker wire to my new motherboard. This was done just to see if I was missing the POST beeps due to a messed up speaker or the lack of a POST.
From some old LED's that I tore out of an old Pentium system years ago, a bunch of little plastic plugs, and some tiny little metal thingies that go in the plugs to hold the wires and make elctrical contact with the pins on the motherboard I constructed a "new" speaker wire.
The attempt to assess the problem with bootable Linux floppies was a neat diversion (I never got any of them to work using "rawwrite" to copy
All in all it wasn't a bad way to spend the evening. Yet a lingering sense of frustration and anger at the whole pc-industrial-complex remains.
[Update: I am ham-handed. The CPU core got chipped by my lack of motor skills. The motherboard wouldn't work because the CPU was trashed. Shouldn't it have made a beep to tell me or something?]
After looking over my old journal entries and the comments they got, I decided to delete them all. I'm not sure the mechanism by which some people found this journal, but the fact that anyone read it and commented definitely had an effect on me.
For some reason, I thought that keeping a slashdot journal might be an interesting thing to try. I tried keeping a journal in an actual book, but that became a pain in the ass, and a potential emotional liability if someone other than me ever read the thing. I thought, "I'll just keep personal details about myself private, and spew bullshit all I want." Sounds healthy right?
As it turns out, it sucks. I would always post in a half conscious state, after hours of trying to forget my life at around 3 or 4 in the morning. My entries, suprisingly, looked exactly like most of the crap people type in their comments on main stories. Except, of course, my entries had no need to address a topic, refute or claim anything, or even be funny. Where the need doesn't exist, neither does my effort.
So I will try and take a risk. I'll tell you the anonymous, and semi-anonymous, slashdot reader, a little about myself. Mainly, this is to help whoever clicks on my name on one of my posts to get an idea as to how much of an asshole I really am. Secondly, this is a great way to entertain myself, and it is a good excuse for the excessive amount of time I spend online.
Well, if you're here to see what kind of jerk posts crap like this, this or this - then let me help you hate me more. Alternately, if you know me already, or happen to like what I wrote (hah!) then this will also help you hate me more.
I grew up in Venice Beach, CA. I have two brothers, one who's older and likes to make money, and one who's younger and likes to be the best at academic things. When I was in elementary and junior high school my mom spent a bunch of money on her two youngest sons. We took Tae Kwon Do, Acting, and Piano lessons. I also used to take Jazz Ballet classes.
When I was 12-13, my older brother was moving out and my little brother was too into studying for his SAT's or whatever. I had one friend who lived down the street. His mother was sort of (in the literal sense) insane. He had issues.
We used to sit in the same room for hours on end just messing with his computers, playing games on the Genesis. This is where I put in my initial "geek" time: reading comics, cyber punk novels, the Book of the Subgenius, H.G. Wells, playing with the Commodore 64, DOS painting programs, Lego moon cities, model rockets, and lots of other things.
My friend went to a different junior highg school. So I became a loner. Luckily I live in a coastal area, and a really wierd one at that. I spent a lot of time at the beach, on my skateboard.
I've been kind of a loner ever since.
I graduated from UCSB, with an Anthropology degree. I spent the first four years there as a Chemistry major before I gave up in boredom and disgust, and switched majors. I moved back home. I am unemployed right now.
This brings me to the second reason for this looong entry. My personal entertainment. Needless to say, being moderately affluent and unemployed affords me a great deal of time to loaf and be online. I don't interact with a wide group of friends, so I always tend to feel isolated.
However, just like everyone, I have opinions. It makes me feel giddy expressing them in a public forum. I read a lot of books, web-sites, and news-sites. I just like writing about them and the thoughts they inspire.
Hopefully I've explained myself a little. Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. Afterall, what's the point of writing if there is no one there to read?