I love slashdot.org. It’s the website with the slogan: “News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.”‡ There’s lots of attitude… maybe too much attitude at times. There’s certainly a lot of Bill Gates – bad; RIAA – bad; Big Government – bad; Linux – good.
Linus Torvalds, the Linux founder and gatekeeper, is worshiped with the ferver normally reserved Britney Spears or (until this past week) Michael Jackson.
To my friends and relatives I am a computer expert; the guy who’s called upon to provide tech support. On slashdot I’m way below the median in tech knowledge… way below.
What makes slashdot so interesting, and what is difficult to figure out when you look at the site, is that each subject gets about the same amount of space for easily accessible comments (with a little effort, everything is there). It is the vote or moderation of members that decides what stays and what is shuffled off to the back shelves.
So, as subjects get more comments, it is more likely that they will be interesting on-topic comments, and the off topic stuff and flamebait will disappear. It’s pretty ingenious and only works because of the huge size of slashdot’s audience.
In fact, when small websites mentioned on slashdot get swamped with browsers, it’s called being slashdotted.
Though moderation is the major arbiter of whether your comments stay or go, there is also the matter of “karma.” Karma is given based on how your previous postings were moderated, and whether you’ve submitted articles (usually just links to articles published elsewhere) that were added to slashdot itself.
Here’s how I’ve done:
2002-09-18 18:18:54 NYTimes endorses Open Source and Linux. Yes, endo (articles,news) (rejected)
2003-01-22 04:38:06 Earthquake data (articles,news) (accepted)
2003-08-20 18:38:39 If you know… how can you stop it? (askslashdot,tech) (rejected)
2003-09-25 03:12:13 Do geeks really need planes to fly? (articles,hardware) (rejected)
2003-10-02 06:41:07 Experience one hour in only thirty minutes (articles,games) (accepted)
2003-10-24 04:37:54 AOL tweaking users computers… and not telling (articles,spam) (accepted)
2003-10-24 07:17:56 Here Comes the Sun(spots) – they’re huge (radio,science) (rejected)
2003-10-29 08:10:39 Fire photos – amateurs as the new chroniclers (articles,media) (rejected)
2003-11-03 01:58:19 Is this the future of TV? (developers,tv) (rejected)
2003-11-19 22:37:35 Bill Gates and the Nightclub Video (articles,windows) (rejected)
2003-11-23 20:27:55 Synthesized Singers (articles,music) (accepted)
That’s 4 accepted of 11 received. I would complain, but to quote slashdot, “Note: grousing about rejected submissions is Offtopic and usually gets moderated that way. It happens, don’t take it personally.”