Aug 23, 2010

Good&Bad: Slashdot

The last days I ask myself: What has happened in recent years to slashdot? It has been the best source for interesting news on IT and other Nerdy topics. Nowadays you still have some on slashdot but a lot of good things aren't on it anymore.

It all started about a week ago. I was watching the Linux Action Show (love that show) and they made a few comments in that direction. That got me thinking. Now it seems so obvious to me and I don't know why I didn't see that trend earlier. Likely its because I read slashdot together with a lot of other blogs in my RSS reader since years. So I didn't notice that more and more of the good stories where from other blogs and not from slashdot.

Then the newest Linux Action Show mentioned it again. And I think they are totally right with that. There was a time when it meant something to get slashdotted. This usually meant for most sites that they where down. Slashdot redirected so much traffic to them that the servers just couldn't handle it. I haven't seen that happen in at least a year or two. So I assume they are generating a lot less traffic these days than back in the old days when they still had "News for Nerds & Stuff that matters".

I mean there are things that didn't change like the ugly website style :D. It's been like that as long as I can remember. But then the voting system for news seems new to me. I did see it years ago but never used it or thought about it. But now I think it may be one of the fundamental reasons the news changed on slashdot.

I imagine that in the "early" days there was a very informed audience reading slashdot and suggesting news. From that slashdot emerged as a very good source of news for nerds (and later generally for all tech enthusiasts). Then they switched to this crowd sourced approach to "filter" news. I guess it did work pretty well in these days. But slashdot got more and more popular and more and more people without the needed tech understanding flooded in and voted as well. But they not just voted for what they want to see. They also started to downvote what they didn't understand or just didn't like. I think they should at least remove that downvoting. In my opinion thats just a very bad idea for a site like slashdot (or any other specialized news source that has a lot of opinionated people reading it).

The best thing would be to remove the voting system all together and replace it with a few capable nerds filtering through the news that gets submitted. They should go back to the "old" system that worked well and made them so famous. The crowd just doesn't know about "good" news, they only know about what they like (or dislike). Sadly thats just not the same.

They could influence opinions and direct people to good things that happen in Open Source every day. It makes me sad that they don't use the influence they still have to help Open Source. Instead they are just following the masses like sheeps do...