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Journal jamie's Journal: Re: "Fastest Slashdotting Ever" 3

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that you clicked onto the Slashdot homepage and saw a story with "0 of 3 comments" or approximately such, whereupon attempting to visit the website referenced by same, you encountered slowness which indicated to you that it had become, as the colloquialism goes, "Slashdotted."

At which point you returned to Slashdot and proceeded to post a comment expressing your ( [ ] surprise [ ] astonishment [ ] outrage ) at how quickly the referent had been reduced to a pile of smoking silicon.

Allow me to explain something to you.

A story appears on the Slashdot homepage at approximately the same time for everyone. (Actually, since less than half our visitors are logged-in, that minority sees /index.pl which delivers a story (on average) approximately 30 seconds before the majority sees it on /index.shtml. But this 30 seconds is irrelevant: let us say the story "appears" on "the" Slashdot homepage at about 10 seconds after the top of the minute, when it is written into /index.shtml.)

After what delay should one expect the "Slashdotting" to begin?

Our traffic throughout the day is quite constant. There is no peer-to-peer network of Slashdot readers, who spread the news of "look! a new freakin' story!" gradually around the world over the succeeding hour, that all may throng, gawk, and retreat until the next story is posted. We do not mail out a newsletter or mobilize the phone banks to inform people of this fact. No, people are constantly stopping by, and they see the new story when they see it.

Let us think about it briefly. Let us suppose that we have n people visiting the Slashdot homepage every second, of which m click through to read a link. We see that if a new story goes up at 14:00:10, then between 14:00:10 and 14:00:11, there will be n viewers, and, after they stretch their mice over to the links and click, m of them will visit the linked site.

Whereas twenty minutes later, between 14:20:10 and 14:20:11, there will be approximately n who -- oh wait a minute! It's the same number!

In conclusion, we see that the Slashdotting begins after approximately the length of time it takes our average reader to paw a mouse over a link and click it. Since this duration is trivial compared to the time it takes to post even the very first comment (20 seconds, minimum), your surprise is unwarranted.

I feel your pain, though.

Hope this helps,


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Re: "Fastest Slashdotting Ever"

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  • Some people put stuff up on their own personal home DSL/Cable line. They put up their exploits (like building the rollercoaster in their backyard), just for 'shits-and-giggles', then slashdot gets a hold of it, and two negative things happen to them:
    1.) They can't use their connection for the next month, because (even if they brought the pages down) slashdotters will pound their site for about a month.
    2.) Their ISP's slap on a big 'extra bandwidth usage' charge when they never asked for the millions of slashdot nerds to hit their site, all at once (or, the ISP shuts down the site for the month, and you get just #1 and a slap on the wrist).

    This is why for some stories, slashdot should consider using a cache. I understand all the red-tape involved, but on some personal sites, if you ask the owner of the webpage, and explain the negative effects, you can probably get their permission to copy stuff locally and avoid hurting someones pocketbook and internet connection.
    • uh, not for nothing, but the majority of home dsl and cable users are breaking their ISP's TOS by "hosting" files for web-based download. you think slashdot should provide a cache just so these people won't have to worry about losing their connection by breaking their contract? you think a slashdot cache is going to somehow pay for itself? what are you smoking?

      sure, some ISP's allow people to run web servers, but i'm sure they get different TOS that account for things like bandwidth. those people should expect their connection to be hosed if it can't support that kind of load.

      and how about this...most ISP's now a days provide you with web space as part of your account. so why the hell would you go ahead and try to host the files yourself if you *KNOW* your connection is going to be hammered when you have another place already to put the files that has plenty of bandwidth?? ok, argue that not all ISP's provide you with support for cgi/php/asp/net/xyz, but come on; if all you want is to tell a story, do you really need some l33t scripted site to do it? i get 70MB of space total with my cable account...that's 250 JPG's at 280KB each, more than enough for high res scanned images, bringing you the all the gory details of my home-built foobar machine...come on!
      • I run a server from home on my cablemodem. Why? To have my own domain for email, to run a mud and some games, and, lastly, to have webspace with apache, jboss, and anything else I want to run, because I have root. All for no extra charge. To get all of that with a server or colo, I'd have to spend a pretty penny each month.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay