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Submission + - If we Buck Feta and leave, where should we go? 17

Covalent writes: I am a long-time slashdot reader (don't let the UID fool you), and I agree with most of you that the Beta is a disaster. Dice has promised a fix, but what if this garbage is the new reality? Is there a suitable alternative to slashdot that members would find equally (or more) fulfilling? Is someone going to fork slashdot and start it anew (Taco can you hear me?) Or is this just the end of an era?

Submission + - Slashdot Beta Woes 16

s.petry writes: What is a Slashdot and why the Beta might destroy it?

Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.

On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.

One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!

What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.

— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.

— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.

— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.

Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.

1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.

2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.

3. JavaScript. We all know the risks of JS, and many of us disable it. We also have an option of reading in Lync or non-standard browsers that many of us toy with for both personal and professional reasons. This flexibility is gone in Beta, and we are forced to allow JS to run. If you don't know the risks of allowing JS to run, you probably don't read much on Slashdot. Those that allow JS do so accepting the risk (which is admittedly low on a well known site).

4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.

5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.

The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.

It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.

Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.

If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.

User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.

Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.

If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years.

Submission + - Can I buy the Classic interface? 3

Max Hyre writes: LWN almost went under a number of years ago because its volunteer editors couldn't afford to keep it up. The readers rose up and insisted that they be allowed to pay for it.

Can we do the same for Classic?

I'm a nerd. I read. I'm the one in the museum ignoring the display and reading the description. I want text, easily accessible, clearly laid out, and plenty of it. I'll pay to keep the UI I know and love.

The Beta has none of those characteristics. The Beta site is repellent, unusable, and unneeded. I won't use it, and if ``Classic'' goes away, I won't visit /., and it'll be a pity.

How much do you actually receive in revenue for each user? I suspect I'll match it to keep the status quo. Ask us what it's worth to us. I'd certainly pay $1/month, and would think about $5/month. I bet that I'm not alone.

Comment How about charging for Classic? (Score 1) 237

LWN almost went under a number of years ago because its volunteer editors couldn't afford to keep it up. The readers rose up and insisted that they be allowed to pay for it.

Can we do the same for Classic?

I'm a nerd. I read. I'm the one in the museum ignoring the display and reading the description. I want text, easily accessible, clearly laid out, and plenty of it. I'll pay to keep the UI I know and love.

The Beta has none of those characteristics. The Beta site is repellent, unusable, and unneeded. I won't use it, and if ``Classic'' goes away, I won't visit /., and it'll be a pity.

How much do you actually receive in revenue for each user? I suspect I'll match it to keep the status quo. Ask us what it's worth to us. I'd certainly pay $1/month, and would think about $5/month. I bet that I'm not alone.

Comment There's an Ask /. for that (Score 1) 237

http://slashdot.org/submission... My answers: http://lwn.net/ for GNU/Linux, http://www.theregister.co.uk/ for general nerd news This is sad---I've been here since it was Chips and Dips; I've even paid for it (allegedly for ad avoidance, but I wanted them to know I valued it enought to pay). If Beta becomes the only /. there is, I'll have to bid it a sad farewell.

Comment For general nerdlitude, try The Register (Score 1) 10

Billing itself as ``Biting the hand that feeds IT'', The Register is a British-based operation with outposts in (at least) the U.S., Australia, and Spain. Its departments include Software, Hardware Science, Security, and the Data Center, among others.

It sometimes speaks in the voice of the British tabloid press, and often includes, among standard stories, a dose of the just plain weird.

Then there's the Special Projects Bureau.

Well worth a look.

Comment For GNU/Linux enthusiasts, only LWN.net (Score 1) 10

LWN (formerly Linux Weekly News) is such a rich resource that (tens of?...I wish) thousands of nerds pay money to keep it going. Broad coverage, outstanding analysis, wry wit, and a great community keep it on top. If I could have only one nerd news site, it would be the one. Disclaimer: I have no connection with them other than that of a satisfied subscriber.

Submission + - New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists (medium.com)

KentuckyFC writes: Black holes form when a large star runs out of fuel and collapses under its own weight. Since there is no known force that can stop this collapse, astrophysicists have always assumed that it forms a singularity, a region of space that is infinitely dense. Now cosmologists think quantum gravity might prevent this complete collapse after all. They say that the same force that stops an electron spiralling into a nucleus might also cause the collapsing star to "bounce" at scales of around 10^-14cm. They're calling this new state a "Planck star" and say it's lifetime would match that of the black hole itself as it evaporates. That raises the possibility that the shrinking event horizon would eventually meet the expanding Planck star, which emerges with a sudden blast of gamma rays. That radiation would allow any information trapped in the black hole to escape, solving the infamous information paradox. If they're right, these gamma rays may already have been detected by space-based telescopes meaning that the evidence is already there for any enterprising astronomer to tease apart.

Submission + - Quarks Know Their Left From Their Right (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: How an electron interacts with other matter depends on which way it's spinning as it zips along—to the right like a football thrown by a right-handed quarterback or the left like a pigskin thrown by a lefty. Now, physicists have confirmed that quarks—the particles that join in trios to form the protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei—exhibit the same asymmetry.The result could give physics a new weapon in the grand hunt for new particles and forces. Or they can search for subtle hints of exotic new things beyond their tried-and-true standard model by studying familiar particles in great detail. In the latter approach, the new experiment gives physicists a way to probe for certain kinds of new forces.

Submission + - House Threatens Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: The author of the Patriot Act has warned that the legal justification for the NSA’s wholesale domestic surveillance program will disappear next summer if the White House doesn’t restrict the way the NSA uses its power. Section 215 of the Patriot Act will expire during the summer of 2015 and will not be renewed unless the White House changes the shocking scale of the surveillance programs for which the National Security Administration (NSA) uses the authorization, according to James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), an original author of the Patriot Act and its two reauthorizations, stated Washington insider-news source The Hill. “Unless Section 215 gets fixed, you, Mr. Cole, and the intelligence community will get absolutely nothing, because I am confident there are not the votes in this Congress to reauthorize it,” Sensenbrenner warned Deputy Attorney General James Cole during the Feb. 4 hearing. Provisions of Section 215, which allows the NSA to collect metadata about phone calls made within the U.S., give the government a “very useful tool” to track connections among Americans that might be relevant to counterterrorism investigations, Cole told the House Judiciary Committee. The scale of the surveillance and lengths to which the NSA has pushed its limits was a “shock” according to Sensenbrenner, who also wrote the USA Freedom Act, a bill to restrict the scope of both Section 215 and the NSA programs, which has attracted 130 co-sponsors. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has sponsored a similar bill in the Senate.

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