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User Journal

Journal Journal: Ten years!

You should read the title like the guy in "Grosse Pointe Blank."

Back then when Slashdot was this odd little web log with a comment system, I was working at BBN Technologies, i.e. the people who invented the internet. (All three of you reading: I know one of you is thinking, wryly, Al Gore invented the internet. I have a link for you: ).

It was an interesting place to work, but for me it was mostly a paycheck, and great net access, past the first year and a half.

Slashdot got into trouble very early on, intellectually, because of the people who read things, and just had to do things like try to claim "first post", behavior adults find cute in seven and eight year olds, who are often quick to take up anyone on a race of any kind.

In older people, it's not cute, so our kind hosts tried to make things better by implementing a system to rate comments. It had detractors, it had critics, but it also had a lot of fans.

It might never be perfect, but it does a pretty good job of hiding the fact that the internet, like many other places, is inhabited by brainless scum who should be burned for their calories.

To those of you oldsters who aren't BSWSBBFTC, here's to progress. To those of you who have never seen an unmoderated /., well, go look around at some younger web logs with less sophisticated systems, you'll see it.

As for our fearless hosts, thanks folks, I'm still a regular.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Friend or Foe, Moderation, etc.

I've been reading slashdot for a long time. I have to say that I am impressed. It has evolved into a pretty nice system. I still lament the problem of late posting*, but the moderation system seems to work fairly well. I keep my filter at 4 or above (except when moderating) and rarely see dumb comments. So, bravo to the designers.

I also like this new friend and foe system, despite the fact that it is sort of divisive. For me it will serve as a reminder system as to when someone has written something particularly dumb a number of times, and I want the system to remind me to suspect their writing.

In some ways, I'd like to see the system to be more specific to that. I'd like to see a rating system, so that I can see a list of the people I find consistantly funny, insightful, informative, trollish, offtopic, etc.

In other words, I'd like to be able to moderate every post I decide to read, even if it doesn't affect the actual posting karma.

In fact, I wouldn't even suggest offering to filter on such things, because I think it's important to not filter too much, lest I miss new authors with special insight, or even foes who make a good point, against all odds.

Maybe I should mention this to someone...

*The problem of late posting: Someone who takes a few hours to think about and write a detailed, reasoned response to an article might never get moderated high enough for me to see, because their post is buried in the slushpile of all other posts.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Profound or sophomoric?

An empty page is daunting in its limitlessness. I could write the great American novel. Or a prize winning poem. A touching or enraging news story.

Or I could just talk about a meta issue is such a way as to sound important, but ultimately convey nothing of importance.

Which is this?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Journalism

The saddest thing about Slashdot is that most of the people who post comments think their comments are important. Obviously, they decided to write that comment rather than doing something more useful with their time like coding or reading a book.

Here's a tip, folks: if you aren't an expert in the field in question, you'd probably do best to not comment at all.

Slashdot is like a poker game with 5000 people playing. The chances the someone out there has a hand that can beat your three Aces are very, very high.

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Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.