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User Journal

Journal The State of Slashdot: Https, Poll Changes, Auto-Refresh, Videos, and More 10

As of yesterday, Slashdot now serves over https. In addition, the polls have been moved exclusively to the right rail, and will not show up with the other stories any longer. We've also disabled auto-refresh, and fixed various issues with search and other features. In the last few weeks, we've also discontinued videos, and removed the "Jobs" section of the site.

User Journal

Journal Follow Slashdot on Google+

Slashdot is finally back on Google+. Follow us if you're interested in keeping up with new posts via Google+. The old page was lost a couple of years ago by the previous ownership, but we are back and every post on Slashdot will appear on our Google+ page.

User Journal

Journal Videos on Slashdot have been discontinued 1

In our most recent Slashdot poll, an overwhelming 91% of users voted to kill Slashdot videos. Thus, we are discontinuing Slashdot videos effective immediately. While there are pluses and minuses to video content, the current iteration of videos on Slashdot was not appealing to the majority of users, and were taking up real estate on the home page, right rail, and main navigation. Starting today, you won't see these videos any more.

User Journal

Journal What's the Story With These Ads on Slashdot? 46

Since 1997, Slashdot has been slinging News for Nerds, and Stuff That Matters (and most importantly hosting discussion for that news and those nerds). Since 1998, we've been able to that because of paid advertising from the companies whose ads you see on our page.

There's a new variety of advertising we're introducing, which you'll notice on our front page soon. These advertisements are labeled, and presented with a different color than are Slashdot stories; they're just sharing the same text-scrolling area. This new form is an evolution of the kind of display space for which advertisers can pay. The advertisers who make the site possible would certainly like you to be intrigued by their ads enough to read them, and then to order their products in triplicate, forever. You're free to skim over the ads, read them deeply, or just ignore them.

Note: it's very important to us that it's always clear whether an item you see on our page is an advertisement, whatever spot it appears in. (Please let us know if you find a particular advertisement to be other than clearly labeled, so we can fix it.)

Can advertisers just buy stories on Slashdot?

No; that's precisely why you'll see these advertisements distinguished from Slashdot stories by color and text. The reader-contributed / editor-selected story process isn't affected by this; the stories that the editors have selected from reader submissions or found around the Web aren't changing. The difference is that advertisers can now buy display space on our page for these text-based ads. (If you are interested in buying such a space, the editorial team is gratified but uninvolved; please instead contact the advertising department.)

But why?

We like putting stories on Slashdot, and reading the resulting conversations; advertising makes that possible. We hope this style of ad presentation will help us rely less on other, more obtrusive forms of advertising, and keep the page streamlined, too: these ads won't blare sound, pop-up a dialog box, or make the page move while you're reading something, and they're simple: Yes, the advertisers want to persuade you to investigate further, or persuade you to somehow change your mind, and that's why any advertiser purchases ad space, but we like that they're using the written word to attempt that persuasion. The kind of ads that show up this way are likely to have actually interesting content, too, because they'll likely be from companies with technology you use or might later consider.

Questions? Leave 'em below, or send us email!
User Journal

Journal DHI Announces Search For a New Owner For Slashdot Media 16

DHI Group, Inc. Statement on Plans to Sell Slashdot Media

DHI Group, Inc., parent company of Slashdot and SourceForge, has announced that it plans to sell its Slashdot Media business, which includes the Slashdot and SourceForge sites. The reason for this decision is that the Slashdot Media business no longer aligns with the broader DHI strategy, which has been refined to focus on providing digital recruitment tools and services to connect employers and recruiters with talent in multiple professional communities.

With Slashdot's and SourceForge's established positions, iconic brands, and loyal and passionate followings of technology professionals in the Open Source community, DHI Group believes Slashdot Media will ultimately have greater opportunity to capitalize on its brand equity and unique assets -- and, therefore be able to realize greater success -- as part of a business that is focused primarily on media and software solutions.

Today's announcement does not change our product roadmap or any of our priorities towards the community or clients, and we will continue to stay focused to deliver on commitments made to our community and clients. The company is committed to ensuring that the transition is seamless and transparent to its community and clients, while working to maintain high levels of quality as it does today. Slashdot and SourceForge will continue their strategy of providing relevant content and services while continually striving to improve the experience for their communities.
User Journal

Journal Enter the Polls! Now On the Front Page 150

We've had polls on Slashdot for most of the site's history (bonus points to anyone who can find the date that the very earliest one actually appeared; hint: it wasn't 1969), and that means more than 1700 browsable questions, from lighthearted to technical, political to geographic, with the occasional venture into the culinary, too.

Starting now, a small change we hope you'll like: you'll see polls appear on the front page of the site, mixed in with the rest of the Slashdot omelet, scrolling down from the top. It's a corner of our site where you can expect more improvements, too: if you have ideas about how you'd like polls to look, please let us know. Have a poll idea you'd like to see on the page? Browse some of the back catalog, or just the news, for inspiration and then -- for now -- please use the submissions form, and suggest away, by naming a question and up to eight potential answers. (It's always good to include an "escape valve" question, too, whether it's "None of the above," or another appropriate option.)

User Journal

Journal Engineering Update 2-27-2015 12

We're posting a quick update after yesterday's code launch to keep you apprised of what's happening.

As many of you noted, there were a number of bugs introduced yesterday. We've just fixed the first round of them:

  • The Post button (and similar) should no longer be hidden on /story/ pages.
  • The Older/Newer buttons on the front page should be back.
  • Tags should now be visible.
  • The left-hand navigation on user pages should be back.
  • We've fixed some of the responsiveness issues with the new header (more to do yet).
  • Contrast on Slashbox titles should be fixed.

There's more work to do, and we're going to keep squashing bugs.

We also wanted to take a moment and talk more about yesterday's changes. This is not a full redesign — far from it. We got rid of the left-hand nav bar because it just wasn't getting used very much. One of the biggest pieces of feedback from the Beta test was that the community didn't want us to waste screen real estate. The left-hand nav bar wasted a lot, particularly on smaller browser widths. Aside from gaining more space on the page, all the comments and stories are the same as before.

The most noticeable change was to the header. We didn't want to take away navigation functionality altogether, so we put it there, and made the header look and scale a bit better. We're not done working on it, and we're cleaning up the places in which it breaks.

We appreciate all the bug reports and feedback we've gotten over the past day. Another big thing we learned from the beta was that the community preferred to have changes roll out incrementally so they had a chance to evaluate them and provide feedback on a case-by-case basis. That's what we're trying to do here — when we make updates, they'll be small, and we'll open up a discussion about them. Let us know what you think at feedback@slashdot.org.

User Journal

Journal The Only Constant is Change 86

Slashdot Engineering has been on a cycle of continuous improvement and continuous deployment for the past few months -- ten code launches so far this year. Today we're announcing a few feature enhancements, and another announcement we think you'll welcome.

First, we've smoothed the way videos show up on the site. Whatever's on the other side of a given link (text or video), Slashdot itself is about conversations. So we've made our videos fit better into the page and the Slashdot comment system, rather than feeling like they're on a separate site. Please check out the new video page. (Also, stay tuned: we'll be bringing you video from other sources, too, with reviews, product close-ups, how-tos, and more.)

Secondly, we've removed the left-hand navigation links and tuned the top-of-page navigation bar. We recognize folks access the site with a huge range of browsers and platforms, and this provides more real estate, sacrificing links that metrics show were largely unused.

And effective today, we've jettisoned the Slashdot Beta platform out the side portal. Slashdot has always been a bit quirky, and "user friendly" is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. After heavily experimenting on the Beta platform and splitting traffic between Classic and Beta, we've made some decisions about which platform changes ultimately make sense: starting today, we're unifying users back on our Classic platform.

If you had fallen in love with Beta and are now seeing Classic for the first time, our apologies. But if you were one of the users who commented on the superiority of the Classic UX, we agree. In any case and as much as ever, your feedback is welcome at feedback@slashdot.org. If you notice any weirdness that might be due to our efforts to reconcile URLs that reach specific parts of the Beta site, please let us know. A screenshot is always worth a thousand words, and sometimes it seems as though the Devil lives in URLs.

User Journal

Journal Security Note On Slashdot's "Social Login" Feature 8

If you use Slashdot's social login feature (which lets you log into Slashdot by means of an external account, such as one at Facebook or LinkedIn), you've probably noticed that this feature has recently been disabled. We've taken this step because of an exploitable bug in such systems (reported here and here, for instance) which could have let a malicious user log into a Slashdot account to which they should not have access. (To exploit this, an attacker would also have needed to know the email account used to sign up for a Slashdot username as well as create an account claiming that email address on an exploitable third-party social network; we have no reason to think that any reader's account was maliciously exploited.) If you use the social login feature, we apologize for the inconvenience. If you have reason to think that your account has been compromised, please let us know by emailing help@slashdot.org.

User Journal

Journal Introducing Slashdot Deals 37

What is Slashdot Deals? It's pretty simple: Slashdot Deals is an online storefront with merchandise that's chosen, stocked, and fulfilled by a third-party; the products are intended to be ones that might interest you. To amplify that: We might have used some of the products on offer, but can't offer an endorsement of any that we haven't. Many readers may remember that Slashdot was for a long time linked to ThinkGeek, and there are some similarities: Slashdot makes money if you buy any of these products through the store, and that helps us bring you more news and discussions; that said, Slashdot Deals is not Slashdot, and vice versa, but we hope you enjoy it.

User Journal

Journal Security Report: Thanks to Manikandan Rajakumar 4

Security researcher Manikandan Rajakumar (See his Twitter feed) reported and provided enough information for us to identify and close a cross-site scripting vulnerability. We appreciate his attention and time; his efforts have made everyone in the Slashdot community safer. We always appreciate readers who provide useful feedback on Slashdot, and even more so when readers (ethically!) identify potential security holes. Many thanks!

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Spot a security problem on Slashdot? We'd like to give you credit on our security attribution page for helping to protect everyone in the community. Send us email, to feedback@slashdot.org, and include as much detail as you can; screenshots, proof-of-concept code, and details about affected platforms are all useful and appreciated.

User Journal

Journal Security Report: Thanks to Christian Mainka and Vladislav Mladenov 1

You may have noticed that OpenID is no longer a login option on Slashdot. (You can still login or create an account directly, or in conjunction with an existing social media account at Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Why not? In large part, because of a valuable warning we received about a possible security flaw in our OpenID login system from two researchers (Christian Mainka and Vladislav Mladenov) from Ruhr University Bochum.

This and other security concerns with OpenID (here's one relevant story), as well as the fact that relatively few readers have preferred OpenID to other login methods, mean that we're unlikely to re-add OpenID as a login method. Security here trumps the additional convenience.

The code that runs Slashdot, like all software, contains code that might be exploited. We always appreciate readers who provide useful feedback on Slashdot, and even more so when readers (ethically!) identify potential security holes. By "ethically," we mean that actually exploiting any security holes, or probing our systems, burdening the servers, engaging in a DDoS just to test things out, doesn't count. Spotting a problem and letting us know does, and we value that contribution highly.

A special thanks go out to Vladislav and Christian. We greatly appreciate their efforts and patience, as we do all readers who pass along suggestions, concerns, or ideas for the site. When readers find and diligently report possible security flaws, we're very grateful for their generosity in doing so.
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Spot a security problem on Slashdot? We'd like to give you credit on our security attribution page for helping to protect everyone in the community. Send us email, to feedback@slashdot.org, and include as much detail as you can; screenshots, proof-of-concept code, and details about affected platforms are all useful and appreciated.

User Journal

Journal Check out Slashdot's new Build section! 1

Since the early days of Slashdot, we've been obsessed -- among other things -- with technological creativity with a tangible output. Sometimes that output is in the form of a genuinely new invention, but not necessarily. Often, it's in the form of clever applications of existing hardware, serious DIY hobbies, or promising research -- that means re-use of components or devices in ways un-dreamed of by the original makers, the emergence of clever new devices or materials, jury-rigged fixes, a control system to turn a house into a light display visible from space, or one to grow vegetables in an automated micro-dome. Sometimes it means items made just for fun, to save lives, or to save money -- and sometimes just because someone has forbidden it. Luckily, these categories can overlap in interesting ways.

Our new Build section is a work in progress, but it's already a good place to scroll through for ideas and inspiration. Expect a bigger announcement (and more stories in there) soon, but don't hesitate to submit stories, ideas, and suggestions, via our submissions form (or via feedback@slashdot.org). We want to see your project!

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Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski

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