I agree that if /. is changed, it should change for the better. My big question is why should we believe you're listening now? At the beta rollout in October you solicited comments about what to improve on the beta. The users responded with >1100 comments and lots of emails. However, many of the same problems (most notably a broken comment system) are still there. Five months and functionality that is foundational to the way people use this site is still not there.
The folks at /. might be listening, but are they going to do anything with what they hear?
Comments are cheap, and a request for them show an interest in the audience.
Following the comments or suggestions are for adding things not thought of when the upgrade was thought of. Changing from the already decided format isn't an option.
Be it a highly paid study or someones grandiose idea for a new direction... it's how it always happens, some survive some don't.
I've never followed a link to Slashdot, can't think of a time I have. It's a site you need to stumble across to find. Opera browser had it's own /. shortcut and others would steer or hint of Slashdot's being, but stumble you needed to do. Just saying it's user base would appear to be of some importance.
My Beta shows half of a predetermined page that has a narrow band of text to the left and the right half all white or blank, not sure if it's my HOSTS file at work or it's just a blank billboard at the moment.
Slashdots' replies took some getting used; I even looked it up, (a good line length is 90 characters). I began to post without a carriage return. Once beta has become fact if I leave replies, I'll be doing a carriage return every 30 characters or less, It's something that can't be fixed without changing the entire format,