What is the Firehose?
The Firehose is powerful viewing tool for Slashdot content, from comments and journal entries to RSS feeds and story submissions. You can filter and interact with the Firehose in a number of ways. The plus/minus box on the left side of each Firehose entry lets you vote on that item. A context menu will appear when you click on the plus or minus, giving you the option of adding certain tags. You can also expand the submission if you'd like to add other tags, such as "northdakota" or "spaceflight." Voting and tagging are helpful; they inform other Firehose users, and help the editors decide which ones make it to the front page.
How can I filter the Firehose?
You can enter filter terms in the text field at the top of the firehose page. Sort for any particular type of entry by entering its type into the field and hitting enter. For example, entering "journal" there would sort for journal entries. You can also sort for story, comment, feed, bookmark, and submission. Putting a "-" in front of a type will exclude that type. For example: "-feed" would exclude all RSS feeds. You can also sort for things like "linux," "openbsd," or "riaa" to see stories with those tags or comments and submissions that mention them.
What do the colors mean?
The colors serve as a rough quality rating for entries in the firehose. You can sort for colors by using the color-picker next to the filter field. Red is the most popular, black is the least popular, and story submissions enter the firehose at blue. Your nods and nixes affect this, so the more often you vote, the more useful color sorting becomes. The lower your color threshold, the more content you'll see.