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Submission + - Slashdot BETA Discussion ( 60

mugnyte writes: With Slashdot's recent restyled "BETA" slowly rolled to most users, there's been a lot of griping about the changes. This is nothing new, as past style changes have had similar effects. However, this pass there are significant usability changes: A narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments. BETA implies not yet complete, so taking that cue — please list your specific, detailed opinoins, one per comment, and let's use the best part of slashdot (the moderation system) to raise the attention to these. Change can be jarring, but let's focus on the true usability differences with the new style.
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Slashdot BETA Discussion

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  • Width (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mugnyte ( 203225 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @03:37AM (#46171211) Journal

    Why must every new redesign narrow the area that comments are actually displayed? The margins are larger each time, and thus the amount of scrolling to see a comment-branch is tedious at best

    • Spread the news ! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:24AM (#46172153) Journal

      Ever since they started this "beta" thing they told us that they would listen to us.

      They lied.

      Since Dice has decided to *NOT* listen to us, no matter how many "fuckbeta" we put here the result would still be the same - the Beta gonna be rolled out and the Slashdot that we have known for the past 15 years gonna be no more.

      We must change our strategy.

      Instead of posting "fuckbeta" here we should post it in "trending" sites. There are sites, such as this - [] - that keep tab of the latest online trends (the other is [] ) and spread the news !!

      • by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) * on Thursday February 06, 2014 @10:24AM (#46173283) Journal

        Maybe, instead of spamming "fuck beta" everywhere like a spoilt child you should actually post something constructive.

        The beta site (I am actually attempting to use it to post this) is not perfect, and it has many flaws. It has improved since the last time I looked at it though (now takes full width of my 1920 monitor for a start), and in some ways it is actually an improvement on the current "classic" slashdot. Try visiting it on a medium spec smart phone, the section at the top is way better (even though they need to drop the border around nested comments down by about 90%).

        If you REALLY don't want anything to change, ever then you are probably shit out of luck here and in life. You probably could try submitting some alternate slashdot designs though that didn't piss you off some much but solve some of the problems with classic slashdot on mobile devices.

        Overall, I actually like the new slashdot design despite its short commings as it just looks more modern. I like the menu sticking to the top of the page. I like drop down menus in html if they are done well and mean the stories can have more space. Above all, I like the fact that they used HTML5 and think that in time the new site might actually be an improvement over the old one even if it is not quite there yet.

        Of course some people will no doubt storm off in huff and never come back just because of a few visual changes but that is their problem, the same thing happened last time slashdot had a redesign.

        • Your preferences re:modernity are all fine - like what you like.

          The question I have is why does the beta need to be non-optional?

          p.s. How did your line breaks look in the beta message preview window?

          • p.s. How did your line breaks look in the beta message preview window?

            Broken, now that is being constructive. Well done.

        • Maybe, instead of spamming "fuck beta" everywhere like a spoilt child you should actually post something constructive.

          Maybe you missed it, but we already tried that and they ignored us. Looks like screaming and throwing feces is the only option left. And if that doesn't work, we'll just leave.

          I won't flame you for liking the new design, but you should realize that almost everybody disagrees with you. It's not that I don't want any change - I think there are problems with the old design, but the new one doesn't fix any of those problems, just adds about 100 new problems.

          • Yeah, everyone who goes "how dare you have an opinion about a change?!??!"

            I have an idea, why don't we comment on all the very popular feedback articles making it through the firehose.

            Oh, wait.

        • by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @12:20PM (#46174659)

          Maybe, instead of spamming "fuck beta" everywhere like a spoilt child you should actually post something constructive.

          People have tried emailing, tried doing the survey, tried phoning their fucking head office, and nothing helps. There isn't even an acknowledgement of how many long-time users hate Beta, let alone an understanding; just a dismissal that "people don't like change", "you'll get used to it".

          And the real crime is that everyone who uses Slashdot can see exactly what happened: The Beta (especially the first public showing) was about as vanilla and default as a blog can get. It was obvious that whoever created it had no concept of what slashdot is, or how it's used. They thought they were updating a theme of a blog or similar simplistic site. Narrow gutted. Big generic images, minimum content. Comments as a straight list, sized for a few dozen per article. Standard doesn't-do-anything Like-button "moderation". Etc etc. As if they clicked a few options on a boilerplate theme, added the Slashdot logo and green scheme, linked to the story/comments databases, and hit "publish". Since then they have been running to try to graft on enough features (threads/moderation/etc) to get something that sort-of vaguely works like Slashdot already works.

          Meanwhile there's so much that could be done to enhance Slashdot. Better articles. Better editing of submissions. Improving the meta-moderation. Better html markup recognition and entities in comments, and of course the legendary unicode. Ability to edit comments after submitting (perhaps those that haven't been replied to, and/or with some indication of editing and versioning.) Better user-side filtering of comments, including "spam" type trainable filters that learn to block AC trolls (not site-wide, just user-trained). Better visual representation of collapsed threads/hidden-comments. Having some kind of auto-display (not auto-refresh, FFS) of new comments within the tab (instead of reloading/reloading/reloading), and some kind of notification/highlight of replies to your own comments within the tab (instead of waiting for email notification). Better integration (essentially creating a continuity) between the user journal-space, the submission-space, and the article-space. Keeping the comments in submitted articles when they are promoted to the main-page. Allow users to create their own publicly viewable "front-page" from other people's submissions.

          Indeed, creating a greater continuity between readers/moderators/meta-mods/submitters/editors/etc to harness users as volunteers/trustees, content creators, and content improvers.

          And customisation. Slashdot has a highly technical userbase. Beta is an example of the widespread dumbification of the internet. Instead, how about giving greater control over how Slashdot appears. (You want more/less whitespace? Edit the properties, drag the margins, set it how you like it. Don't like my auto-updating-comments idea, fair enough, disable it.) Long term, allow some kind of "add-on" functionality, where users can code features that other users can select from the functions list, which affect the way Slashdot works for those users.

          Do you want more? I'm sure people have plenty of suggestions. I've certainly seen buckets of complaints and suggestions about "Classic" Slashdot over the years. And none, not a single fucking one, is addressed by Beta.

          But hey, at least they've updated the theme.

          • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @02:10PM (#46175939)
            Exactly this. I gave all sorts of detailed, constructive feedback during the early stages, and then nothing happened. I'm sure I'm not the only one, because for all its faults, the /. community is much more intelligent and helpful than the average gaggle of facebook rejects on blog posts using the ubiquitous Disqus. Indeed, I've met a lot of Slashdotters at the anniversary parties, and you can tell they're a different lot, inheritors of the spirit of the early internet from before Endless September.

            I don't need an Engadget clone, especially since I almost never go there either anymore (coincidentally they became shitty after being bought be AOL, pattern much?). I've seen several people talk about starting spiritual /. successors, and some are taking action [].

            I suppose this was all inevitable. It's just sad to see one of the pillars of the internet finally start falling after more than fifteen years. I've been reading /. since it was featured in some brief minute long segment on ZDTV when I was in high school. If I'd registered back then I'd probably have a four or five digit UID, but I didn't like registering for anything I didn't have to and didn't bother until it was necessary for the 10 year anniversary parties. Oh well, now UIDs aren't going to mean shit, so I guess I won in the end? Yay? Ugh.
            • by steveg ( 55825 )

              What do you mean, UIDs don't matter?

              I get a *badge* in my profile that says I have a 5 digit UID.


              • There are two boxes here "Reply to comment" and this second one I'm typing in. Also, there's no way I can fit an "insightful comment" into this postage-stame-sized box.

                And I can't even see your user number

          • So, SO much this.

            I really don't believe the people using Beta have really used Classic. On an MBA's bullet point list, it's all there. But in real life, they're not even similar.

          • by zidium ( 2550286 )

            "You'll get used to it", "Life's not fair", and "Stop whining, you spoiled bitch!" are the three most common refrains of an abusive man as he subjects his woman to torture.

  • The mobile version has a custom filter that shows headings even after filtering, but doesn't show the level you have filtered to. Why?

    The full-screen version doesn't even offer this. Can we get a filter to be standard, and to actually REMOVE the filtered-away comments?

  • Contrast (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mugnyte ( 203225 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @03:45AM (#46171241) Journal

    Why the more-grey background? Did reduced contrast make it easier for everyone to read? Not me. The BETA needs to go back to a white(r) background for reading.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @04:01AM (#46171273) Homepage Journal

    I've just now registered "".

    I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

    If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

    I'm particularly in need of people who can:

    • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
    • Edit story submissions
    • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

    Contact me if interested

    John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org

  • by sdsd99 ( 3527543 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @04:17AM (#46171331)
    The UI sucks in every way that the old UI worked fine. It requires more scrolling, wastes space. It is slow and the AJAX half works. Etc etc etc (even now as I type this it ignores my new lines and puts all in one giant blob) Seriously you ask us to tell you whats wrong... The answer is EVERYTHING.... NO ONE ASKED FOR SLASHBETA. NO ONE (--OBVIOUSLY--) WANTS IT. You can't so soullessly and drastically change something that's worked more or less the same for ~15 years - Slashdot ceases to become Slashdot. And you have turned it into something that is ugly, soulless, unoriginal and --sad--. When there is only Slashbeta and not Slashdot, I'll be gone. And I hope others do the same.
    • When I first saw it, I thought, "Oh this isn't so bad." Then I saw the fonts alternating between seriph and sans and I nearly fell out of my chair. I could have lived with a modernized UI, provided it was functional (which seems to be questionable at this point), but having fonts wibble between such vastly different styles in an attempt to differentiate between posts and replies destroys the page harmony and makes my eyes water.
  • by mrpacmanjel ( 38218 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @05:55AM (#46171763)

    Generally I don't have issues updating the look of the site and adding/tweaking features. The changes over the years have definitely improved things.


    The fixed Slashdot banner at the top of the page is a major annoyance.

    The reason I don't like it is the banner takes up too much space and now 1/3 of my browser estate is lost to view content.

    I've seen other sites do this and generally avoid them.

    Another issue(only one issue per comment? fuck you sue me) is leave the comment & moderation system as it is. This is a fundamental part of Slashdot and changing this means this site ceases to be Slashdot.

    One of the major reasons I visit this site is because of the community and comments make the stories on this site interesting to read, funny and dare I say insightful.

    The community is what makes Slashdot - send them away and the site dies. If you are trying to expand your audience you are going to lose to other competitors.

    Where's Cowboy Neal when you need him? I miss my hot grits.

    I also DO NOT welcome our corporate overlords.

    • Indeed the comments and discussions are most of what I come for. They are what make Slashdot unique. Without them it's just another news aggregator.
  • Die Beta, DIE !!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheBlackMan ( 1458563 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:18AM (#46171855)
    The beta clearly sucks. If you guys cannot make something that is CLEARLY SUPERIOR to the slashdot we have, then DO NOT FCKIN' CHANGE ANYTHING !
    If you want to try something new, justy try to make a new site, advertise it and see the results. If there is no adoption, that probably means IT JUST SUCKS !

    The old slashdot is so close to perfection that it is understandable that it is difficult to improve on PERFECTION. And it is too easy to break it.

  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:06AM (#46172099) Homepage Journal

    ...a one week boycott from February 10th to the 17th.

    I came in with the Halloween Papers.

    If the Slashdot Valentines Day Massacre doesn't kill beta, I can leave during a holiday period as well.

    (anyone else remember Richard Lewis warning Jamie Lee Curtis not to go with Beta?)

  • This sucks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:35AM (#46172211)
    Way to much whitespace, the sidebar is bulkier and more cumbersome than having a floor lamp up your ass, and the comment and article space is even smaller somehow. (Yes, lets shrink the only part of the site that actually matters?) I have no need for multiple inches of grey buffer at the edges of my screen. This site looks like it was recoded from the mobile app, with tall narrow screens in mind. Either scrap it, or start losing users.
    • by Jahta ( 1141213 )

      I agree. The over-use of whitespace is my single biggest gripe with the beta. Fixed width panels may make sense for mobile (handheld) devices. But on my 19" desktop monitor and widescreen laptop over a third of the screen is being wasted (and I have to scroll more to read the comments).

      Supporting different layouts for different devices isn't hard; it's CSS 101. The classic layout should still be available, at least as an option for logged in users.

      Also, while editing this, I've noticed that (ironically)

    • Don't forget see find replies to things you've said.

  • Also slashboxes, the rss boxes on the right, have been removed. Actually, mostly replaced by ads.

    In my book, this means Slashdot can't fulfill the role of a tech news hub anymore.

    Please, add and improve on usability of slashboxes instead.

  • The BEST parts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SunTzuWarmaster ( 930093 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:16AM (#46172689) Homepage

    narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments

    So, I enjoy the large reading pane, as this is where the heart of slashdot lives.
    Moderation filtering is what allows intellectual discussion to occur.
    The font/color/size adjustments in general make slashdot seem "whiter", "trendier" and "ad ridden", which are among the things that I avoid on the Internet.

    Quite frankly, these changes are removing what makes slashdot, slashdot. Slashdot is the slow-crawl IRC among many respectable scientists and engineers. I have been browsing and posting /. since 2006, and have enjoyed the layout of the site (the one change in that time was positive, I don't just hate new things). The 'beta' layout is a direct detractor to site quality, and I fear that the other engineers/scientists will leave.

    I have applied the "fuckbeta" tag to all stories this morning, have used my moderation points in other threads to promote resisting the change, have written an E-mail on the subject, and have posted in this thread. I would send money if I believed that it had the influence to keep the old slashdot layout, as I believe the change to the new layout may prevent what this country needs: intellectual discussion. Tell me where to send the ransom money. I'm not kidding.

  • The Beta isn't working on my FF and IE.
    Page doesn't render completly.

    However I agree with the views of people complaining, since we already have experienced a similar move before, but not so catastrophic, and I see what they mean.

    I've sent an email to feedback (at) , Subject is "beta_feedback", since they ask for it in the MOVIN’ ON UP nag.


    Just listen to the user base: we do not like the redesign, we want the old slashdot back.

    We just want streamlined and dense data feed from /. as before, not a redesign that makes /. looks like any other site with tons of pictures and js scripts.

    I'm sorry for the people who spent some time to develop the redesign, it's a waste of time, I hope they had fun and that they will be able to use those skills somewhere else.


    By data feed I mean Subjects and comments

    Question to those with the beta fully running on their browsers:
    Is there an option to revert to the classic

  • It's just plain awful. There are may defects. Text is too large. Not enough contrast, too different from former layout, pictures are too big. Advertising is too obtrusive. Things that were on the sidebars aren't there any more. I could go on but frankly I can't stand to be on that site.

    The redesign entirely loses the look and feel of slashdot. That's a barrier for people who are used to slashdot. If you want it to be accepted by the user community, you have to make it look and feel a lot more like s

    • It's just plain awful. There are may defects. Text is too large. Not enough contrast, too different from former layout, pictures are too big. Advertising is too obtrusive. Things that were on the sidebars aren't there any more. I could go on but frankly I can't stand to be on that site.

      The redesign entirely loses the look and feel of slashdot. That's a barrier for people who are used to slashdot. If you want it to be accepted by the user community, you have to make it look and feel a lot more like slashdot has looked and felt for the last couple of years.

      Not a bug.

      • It is if it drives away enough users. They're paid by ads viewed. No users --> no ads viewed --> no revenue --> everybody loses their job

        But only those who signed off on redesigning the user interface in a way that users disliked deserves to lose their job (over this).

        starting a new campaign: set your router to block the new site. (You can't make me use it.)

  • by snooo53 ( 663796 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:12AM (#46173793) Journal
    Besides the overuse of white space on the page, the single biggest thing they could do is copy the current commenting system. I want the same threshold controls I have currently. I want to see more than two comments fit on the screen at a time. I want them to take up most of the page width. This should be the #1 priority... comments are the lifeblood of Slashdot. Rarely does anyone click on the articles. Screw up the comments and you kill Slashdot.
    • I tried viewing the comments in Beta and failed. Its damning that the the Beta is so bad, I can't even use it to comment on its own discussion.

      Also, I love the abbreviated comments feature of Classic.

  • I got the beta nag among the beta protest topics, how ironic ! []
  • by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @12:20PM (#46174663) Homepage

    I don't mind so much the white space and stupid look and feel.

    But there is a crucial part that I can't ever tolerate.

    Some background: I have been a regular visitor to Slashdot for around 15 years. For that, I get the checkbox to disable ads, though I browse with Javascript disabled so my browser does not slow down.

    I come here for the discussions, and often read comments at +5, changing that only if I find a discussion interesting and warrants reading at a lower level.

    The new beta uses JQuery for the comment threshold selector, and changes that on the fly. This means all the comments are loaded, but not visible, and processing any page with considerable number of comments will slow down MY computer! If I have a few tabs open to read later, my computer will be unusable.

    What is worse it that they require you to click on the slider on every article to change the threshold! This is just insane!

    If they insist that I enable Javascript to browse the site at the threshold I want, then they will lose me as a long time. I imagine that others long timers will hate the site too.

    Dice have to remember that this site has two unmatched features, interlocked: a moderation system that is good at cutting down the trolling, spamming, and noise, and a comment section that is frequented by many people who are passionate about technology and other nerdy stuff.

    If they wanted to intentionally ruin the site and drive people away, they would not have done any worse than what they are doing now.

    If they manage to aggravate a lot of their users, the comment section will no longer be attractive to the audience. Perhaps we should revive kuro5hin?

    I wrote the above in a feedback form that I filled a while ago, and I am emailing this comment to their Please send them feedback too.

  • by mugnyte ( 203225 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @12:49PM (#46174977) Journal

    Folks, OP here... thanks for discussing this. Express yourselves as you wish. I now understand some of the concerns. As a member since 98, I've seen several style revolts, and I'm hopeful this concentrated thread will get the guys in the home office some food for thought. Everyone here is a member so this isn't some fly-by BS thread.

  • This has that useless make your eyes bleed social network feel that sucks some serious donkey balls. It hasn't yet approached the eye bleeding pain of but I figure it isn't long. If this is what we get it will be so long slashdot, from a long time participant (some time in 05 I think) and even longer reader (summer of 98).
  • by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @01:01PM (#46175137)

    As an exercise, try to list all the new features that Beta adds to Slashdot. Without mentioning the theme.

    I think the problem you have is that you spend your time on different, much dumber sites than Slashdot is competing with. Slashdot is not competing with Gawker, it's competing with Reddit. Go spend a few weeks using Reddit and yCombinator. Bask in their ugly-practical user-interfaces until you internalise what geeks want from sites like this.

    Slashdot doesn't need to be as deep down the rabbit-hole as those. I like that "Classic" is a bit more usable, and I'd like to see new features to make it more useful. But Beta does nothing useful. Beta is going the wrong way.

    I honestly think you need to accept that you made a huge mistake buying Slashdot (and Sourceforge), you can't make it into what you thought you could, you can only drive everyone away; so sell it to someone else NOW while it still has some value.

    But failing that... My suggestion:

    Kill Beta. Kill it now. Tell everyone that you've killed Beta. Put a banner on the main-page saying you've killed Beta. Then open a topic on the main-page to "Ask Slashdot" what specific improvements and fixes we actually want. And ask for broader suggestions to consider in the future. Ask what we dislike about Slashdot, and what we like and dislike about rival sites. And then... and this is the key part... read those fucking comments. Don't skim. Read.

    Beta is bad, and you should feel bad. Kill it before it kills your investment.

  • I have read Slashdot daily since ~8/2001. It is sad to me to watch this community die.
  • Let's be honest - at this point you're much better off scrapping this garbage, taking the classic (recoding the classic if you want) and adding only incremental improvements to it.

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @02:17PM (#46176021)
    That's the problem right there.

    Dear DICE:
    We're not "your audience", we're your CONTRIBUTERS. You're just the chalkboard we have our discussions on. Shut the fuck up, display a few ads, and stay the fuck out of the way.
  • Insofar as there's an issue, it's maybe that the right hand column should be eliminated as it really doesn't seem to have a function on a discussion page. But it's not terrible. In fact, it's an improvement.
    Biggest improvements:

    - Nested by default (the only sane way to follow a discussion)
    - No paging or other kludges produced because Pudge's 31337 SQL skills were, uh, not awesome.
    - None of the usual problems associated with Javascript heavy pages. Very responsive. No stupid "automatic fetching of new
  • Cons -
    1. Pictures? Really? Come on guys. That's bad, real bad. Don't want it. I come here for content and good discussion. Pictures are not required. I don't even think formatted text is required. Ability to post text and hyperlinks is good enough.
    2. Lots of white spaces. Waste of screen real estate.

    Pros- Will think more and post.

  • Maybe if it is necessary for whatever reason to migrate slashdot to a new visual format and you let point to the new format site you should hang onto your user base by making something like, say, point to the the same textual content in the old format. It wouldn't bother me at all to have my bookmarks point to instead of And for those few devices for which the new format works better, I'll still be able to use the new format.

    If it manages to

  • I've tried the beta, took the stupid 'tour', went to the feedback survey and filled that out, e-mailed them, so here I am commenting here.

    DIE Beta, DIE!!!!!

    You want constructive criticism:
    Quit breaking the commenting and moderating system(beta), and fix unicode in classic, and you're done.

  • Long live Classic.

  • As others pointed out, nobody needs the extra empty space, both around the comments and on the right hand-side, which is obviously room for ads, but is just annoying, making the discussion thread ridiculously long. The non-white background is horrible: reduces contrast and makes everything hard to read. Also, the moderation threshold adjustment is practically gone: You can have all comments (ain't got no time fo' dat!) or practically nothing on the screen. The moderation category filtering was maybe a good

  • I think you want honest feedback as much as NCsoft wanted to hear from the City of Heroes community after they announced in 2012 August that CIty of Heroes was being shut down at the end of 2012 November. As in you aren't paying any attention at all.

    Well, NCsoft sowed the wind and now they're reaping the whirlwind. Their sales are in decline. And the City of Heroes community is supporting the coming game City of Titans. Without lies and bullshit corporate politics. The same will happen to Slashdot.

    I kn

    • by clcobra ( 921072 )
      Dice should ask Digg about the nice interface change that they did few years ago and how that worked for them...
  • We need someone from Dice Holdings Inc to clearly state their intentions with Slashdot.

    I understand they want a wider audience (not sure how that would work considering the core "audience" here) which is fine.

    At lease make the classic option permanent.

    SUCK FEETA: https://scontent-b-lhr.xx.fbcd... []

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva