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Slashdot Turns 100,000 443

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the has-it-been-that-long-already dept.
This entry represents the 100,000th story posted on Slashdot. Technically this is a bit late since we're missing the first few months of stories from the DB, but there are now 100k items in the story database and I thought that milestone was worthy of sharing with the universe. We've come a long way in the last 12 years, and while the site isn't always exactly what I want it to be, I'm very proud of the work done by our thousands of submitters and by the editors our readers have "affectionately" referred to as "The Slashdot Janitors" for so many years. Special grats to timothy who is just short of his 17,000th story and is far and away the most prolific person here. The hall of fame has a few other bits of trivia.
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Slashdot Turns 100,000

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  • Age and quality. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:03PM (#30408166) Homepage Journal
    What's amazing to me isn't that /. has carried on this long, but rather that the comment quality on here hasn't gone the way of most social new sites. It seems that in general as a social news site ages, matures, and grows, the comment quality follows an inverse pattern. Or more simply, as the number of users approaches infinity, the comment quality approaches 4chan. Digg used to be a decent site for discussion; now you'd be laughed at for even suggesting that the comments might be notable. Reddit is quickly getting there. Slashdot though seems to best this pattern. While I'm well aware that someone will reply to this with "In soviet russia 4chan approaches you!" or something similar in a successful attempt to disprove my point, but I think it still holds true in some respect. Kudos slashdot, keep it up. You keep trying to make UI (un)improvements and we'll still be here to comment without RTFA - and we'll both be thankful for it.
    • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:10PM (#30408234)

      Tragically this is because the degradation is instead shifted to the editors. Slashvertisements, things in "ask slashdot" that should instead get someone redirected to google, and kdawson....

      • I agree with you about the editors. It is amazing how little Slashdot editors seem to have learned about editing in the last 12 years. Sometimes stories have not even been spell-checked. It is very common that a Slashdot story is misleading in some way.

        However, even with the sloppy editing, Slashdot is the best way of learning about computer and other technology events. It's indispensable in my life. Slashdot editors have been very good at choosing stories that are interesting to us.

        The comments have
        • by Reaperducer (871695) on Friday December 11, 2009 @11:14PM (#30410832)
          I wonder how many of the 100,000 are dupes.
        • by Toonol (1057698) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @02:50AM (#30411936)
          I think there is some sort of sociological principle at play here... some sort of emergent property of systems. As the number of people frequenting the internet, and social networking sites, grow... there's an effect that both drives most sites toward absolute mediocrity, the most populated part of the bell curve... but if you are sufficiently above or below the middle, you may be pushed further to that extreme.

          The smart people need a site, and there's more smart people than ever... so there is a demand for something on the high edge. But there's absolutely no need for a 'halfway smart' site, like, say, Digg... at that point, the site joins millions of others in vying for the attention at the populated middle. I THINK there might be something like that happening with slashdot... at least I hope.

          I think something similar happens with movies and tv.
      • Ask Google (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday December 11, 2009 @08:56PM (#30409818) Homepage Journal

        things in "ask slashdot" that should instead get someone redirected to google

        Not everybody is an expert at formulating search engine queries. In these Ask Slashdot articles, I take the question to be the following: "To answer this question, what words should I have typed into a search engine?" Even a "Let me Google that for you" response [lmgtfy.com] can be informative if it reveals keywords that the submitter couldn't think to use.

    • by ModernGeek (601932) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:11PM (#30408252) Homepage
      I credit the moderation system.
      • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:13PM (#30408274) Homepage Journal
        As do I. Having comments separated by funny/insightful/etc, capping them at +5, and only letting a select few upvote is a surprisingly effective strategy.
        • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:11PM (#30408910)
          Apparently it is, it would be very interesting to know why exactly this works. I mean, seriously, comments almost never get deleted here, right? (unless it's related to scientology?). And you can post as anomymous coward without logging in? It's a miracle that it isn't full of crap posts and automated spam messages.
          • by nschubach (922175) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:26PM (#30409046) Journal

            I think it has to do with the attention factor. ACs can post what they want, but they aren't going to get more than a few views before someone mods them out of view to the default filters. They lose the attention a controversial topic may bring and they soon get bored and move on to those other sites. In this case, "Don't feed the trolls," seems to be working!

          • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:28PM (#30409058)

            It's a miracle that it isn't full of crap posts and automated spam messages.

            At least part of that stems from the aforementioned moderation system, the fact that most regular users don't browse at -1 (which means we wouldn't actually see AC spam even if it was occurring), and perhaps also because geeks are not good marks for the sorts of products generally plugged via spam; that and geeks have the means, motive, and opportunity to take active technical measures against spammers making us doubly not worth the effort from the spammer's point of view. In short, The spammers don't spam Slashdot because picking fights with the geeks is not in their interest; it wastes their time and invites sophisticated and targeted retaliation which only distracts their attentions from their real prey (i.e. grandma's AOL account).

            • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday December 11, 2009 @09:54PM (#30410224) Journal

              the fact that most regular users don't browse at -1

              Actually I would recommend that everyone browse at -1. There isn't really that much spam/trolling to contend with -- in exchange for having to scroll past one or two racist trolls you'll get to see raw unfiltered discussion that may not have survived the group think that permeates the moderation system.

              I stopped caring or paying attention to moderation a long time ago. Give it to me raw baby!

        • Re:Age and quality. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Friday December 11, 2009 @08:41PM (#30409678) Homepage Journal

          Also, the ordering of comments. Sites where the most recent comments come first encourage repetition, circling around the same arguments and bad quality, whereas a thread you can follow allows picking up an existing conversation on top of arguments already made.

      • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:20PM (#30408372) Journal
        You mean the same moderating system that hasn't given me mod points in 4 or 5 years?
      • Re:Age and quality. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by openfrog (897716) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:34PM (#30409106)

        I credit the moderation system.

        Of course, and as others have said, who choose to use and to read Slashdot in the first place. It is a very interesting community and I would believe, vastly more influential than what is suggested by the conventionally self-deprecating comments.

        I love Slashdot so much that I often find myself worried about the possibility of organized attempts to manipulate the system. The next topic (the 100, 001st): Virtual Money For Real Lobbying, address this very issue, but about other discussion groups. I must say that I am reassured most of the time by the efficiency of the moderating system, with one recent exception: the issue of climate change, on which there have been 5 or 6 stories over the last few days. I admit the topic is controversial to begin with, but the comments I have seen modded down, with the intelligence and tone associated with the scientific minds whom we are used to read around here, and some comments I have seen modded up, left me with the impression of a massive attempt at manipulating the moderation system, only partially successful perhaps.

        My immediate reaction was to reflect on what form of comment analysis, statistical or otherwise, would allow confirmation or infirmation of such coordinated attempts. Anyone has an idea on that?

      • by Omestes (471991) <omestes@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday December 11, 2009 @08:10PM (#30409390) Homepage Journal

        The moderation system is awesome. It is the one thing I always notice the lack of when reading other blogs. It also is much better than the binary system on some blogs, and Reddit and Digg, which tends to lead to an even larger herd (hurd?) mentality than here. But there has to be more, Kuro5hin has a much more expansive and powerful (or at least arcane) mod system, and has collapsed under the weight of its own lack of relevance long ago.

        The thing that probably lead /. to keeping its glory is the diversity of the crowd here. Most of the people here are geeky, many are educated, and every single one of us is opinionated and not scared of trying to fight for ideological supremacy (be it Democrat versus Republican, Socialist versus Libertarian, Vi versus Emacs, KDE versus Gnome, etc...). The fact that there is no 4chan-ian hive mind here helps a ton. Every time I come to this site, I can expect to nod my head in complete sycophantic agreement, and erupt flaming bile within the same discussion.

        I just wish that the Politics section never hit, it seemed to have made EVERY damn discussion political (Bush uses BSD therefore BSD sucks... FreeBSD is socialist, therefore it sucks... etc...).

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:11PM (#30408258) Journal

      You keep trying to make UI (un)improvements

      The new UI doesn't bother me as much as it bothers some people but for the life of me I can't figure out the new meta-moderation system. It also seems to me that the quality of moderation have been down and we've seen a lot more people using negative mods to punish those they disagree with than we did in the past -- whether or not this is related to the new meta-moderation system is open to debate.

      • Re:Age and quality. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Firehed (942385) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:32PM (#30408524) Homepage

        The UI would be fine if a) it worked correctly cross-browser, or at least among standards-compliant browsers and b) the javascript that powers most of it wasn't some of the slowest ever written. Honestly, the whole lot of it could be replaced in about 5kb of code that works 10x better and 50x faster, in about two hours worth of work. Well, if half of slashcode hadn't been eaten by a grue years ago.

        • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:49PM (#30408696) Homepage
          Well, what are you waiting for then? You seem to know how to fix it, so why tease us?

          Isn't it funny how every coder in the world knows how to make existing code better in orders of magnitude with "hardly any work".
        • by Valdrax (32670) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:03PM (#30408836)

          The UI would be fine if a) it worked correctly cross-browser, or at least among standards-compliant browsers and b) the javascript that powers most of it wasn't some of the slowest ever written.

          I liked the site better when it didn't rely on Javascript at all: back when all the comment boxes worked without a hitch, and there weren't so many clever little popups that don't work half the time. Plus, I used to be able to see icons for friend/foe markers. Even with everything turned on in NoScript (save DoubleClick), the site doesn't completely work, and it's maddening.

          I haven't seen ANY value added by ANY of the UI changes to Slashdot in the past couple of years. All they've done is make the site harder to use and less attractive. I always get the feeling no matter what browser I use that the site was coded for some other browser. And that's just terrible.

      • by rabiddeity (941737) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:49PM (#30408694) Homepage

        The new UI doesn't bother me as much as it bothers some people but for the life of me I can't figure out the new meta-moderation system.

        I agree. It's straightforward if you see a positive mod and it's good; plus means "yes, it's funny, I agree, mod up". But what does minus do? Does minus mean "that's not funny at all" or does it mean "that's not +5 Funny"? And how are you supposed to metamod things that are labeled Troll or Offtopic? Does plus mean you agree with the negative moderation, or does it mean "this should be rated higher"? Same with minus. It's the equivalent of the OK/Cancel box in bad UIs, in that it's not at all clear what effect your actions will have.

        The old system was a lot better; you get three selections labeled "Funny", "Unfunny", or "Not sure", and mark the appropriate one. For a comment modded "Flamebait" the options were also clear: "Flamebait", "Not Flamebait", and "Not sure". Why can't we have the old metamod system back?

    • by Taelatus (971105) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:14PM (#30408284)

      What I like most about the comments is that the good ones are usually far more interesting than the article being commented on. I hate to admit it but I usually skim the summary and dig straight into the comments section of any particular article. I almost never RTFA.

      • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:42PM (#30408628) Journal
        Yes, it's the only site I can think of where I occasionally learn something from people I violently disagree with. The comment system allows me to easily carry on a debate or discussion with another user, IMHO it is second to none. I look forward to another 10yrs of humuor and insight.

        Of course there would be nothing to discuss without the much maligned editors, so thanks and keep up the good work.
      • Re:Age and quality. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by satoshi1 (794000) <satoshi AT sugardeath DOT net> on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:44PM (#30408638) Homepage Journal
        This is what I do as well. I've learned far more from you guys here in the comments than I have from the maybe five articles I've actually read since I joined this place.
        • by pseudosocrates (601092) on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:59PM (#30410718)

          <unlurk>

          Agreed. I never post. I hardly ever mod. But Slashdot has been an immense education for me as a tech generalist over the past 8 years (yes - took me a few years to even sign up for a uid). A couple of thoughts.

          I love the js powered post-expansion. Massive improvement as I no longer have to skip about posts. Never any speed issues.

          Lack of avatars + user cruft mean posts rise to the top rather than personalities. The few who I can name have it for good reason - I've actively noticed who they are through consistent quality posting: nycl, badanalogyguy, akaimbatman, clevernickname...

          To paraphrase a comment above - /. is where I frequently learn from people whose general views I actively reject

          To another 100k.

          </unlurk>

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        I hate to admit it but I usually skim the summary and dig straight into the comments section of any particular article. I almost never RTFA.

        You must be old here.

    • Re:Age and quality. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dancingmad (128588) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:21PM (#30408374)

      I dunno, there are old-timers here who have been around longer than I have, and I go through cycles of posting and not posting, but I think there's been a pretty marked change in both the kinds of users and the stories. I will probably get moderated to hell for saying this, but when I started lurking and then signed up for an account, slashdot at that time was more like some parts of reddit (to disclaim I post in both places, and I think the general quality of comments are better here, but there was a level of free-wheeling, shared culture that isn't quite as present here - it reminded me of the quirkiness of the jargon file). Back in those days everyone would catch and upvote semi-relevant Simpsons and Red Dwarf quotes for example (I got into RD via slashdot, if I remember correctly).

      Perhaps the change in stories has been related; it's gotten a lot more general (it probably started before but I remember noticing the change as and after the politics section was added).

      So yeah, the site's still around and there are still people posting and it's still relevant (more than I can say for digg), but the focus and community have changed a lot and for better or worse, as far as "net culture" is concerned, it seems like 4chan and the sites that interact with it's culture (reddit, unyclopedia) have more influence.

      Don't get my wrong, I still love the slashie.

      • by Xugumad (39311) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:42PM (#30408620)

        Oi, 6-digit, get off my lawn :)

      • by Nemyst (1383049) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:25PM (#30409038) Homepage
        Isn't that symptomatic of how the "net culture" has changed, though? Back when Slashdot was new, being on the Internet was something few people did, even less so without inhibitions. It was the lair of tech and science geeks, and that was that. People would dig up interesting science/tech articles and then the comments would debate it over and over (with of course random quotes).

        However, nowadays you can't help but notice the politicization of the Internet and, by extension, of all things related to computers and science. I'd argue the politics section you noted highlights that fact: politics now influence this community far more than it did before. There are now ideological debates, megacorporations to praise or decry, lawyers to monitor, laws to bash or applaud... Blogs, social networks, all have changed the face of the Internet and I only believe it normal that Slashdot changed to reflect that.

        I honestly wouldn't mind seeing more science and tech articles and less law stuff, but at the same time I'm glad I have a good source from which to read the latest developments in copyright crap or ISP abuses... I guess. Bah, you see my point!
      • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:48PM (#30409198)

        Perhaps the change in stories has been related; it's gotten a lot more general (it probably started before but I remember noticing the change as and after the politics section was added).

        So yeah, the site's still around and there are still people posting and it's still relevant (more than I can say for digg), but the focus and community have changed a lot and for better or worse, as far as "net culture" is concerned, it seems like 4chan and the sites that interact with it's culture (reddit, unyclopedia) have more influence.

        It seems to me that Slashdot has always been a relatively niche audience. If Slashdot ever influenced 'net culture, it was because 'net culture itself was once very much a subculture. But that has changed. The user base of the Internet in general has grown, become more diverse, and become more main-stream. Sites like 4chan are a part of this broader audience. And while Slashdot has also felt some of this broader influence, it still remains pretty firmly removed from the mainstream.

        • Re:Age and quality. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lazy Jones (8403) on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:11PM (#30410368) Homepage Journal

          But that has changed. The user base of the Internet in general has grown, become more diverse, and become more main-stream. Sites like 4chan are a part of this broader audience. And while Slashdot has also felt some of this broader influence, it still remains pretty firmly removed from the mainstream.

          My impression is that slashdot has kept most of its older users from the early days, while the younger people from the "mainstream" era of the web never found it interesting enough to spend a lot of time on it. They frequent 4chan, digg, youtube etc. and have thus mostly spared slashdot from the onslaught of that kind of posts, except for a few years back (must have been around 2002-2004) when "meme" type posts were big on slashdot...

    • Re:Age and quality. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by epp_b (944299) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:23PM (#30408404)

      ...You keep trying to make UI (un)improvements...

      Really? I think the comment system UI features that have been added over the past while are slick and efficient. The fewer times I am required to leave the current page for a small chunk of data to load, post or be rearranged, the better.

    • by rm999 (775449) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:26PM (#30408450)

      On Slashdot, the moderation system keeps good comments at the top and bad comments hidden. This is why the quality seems so good: one only has to read the top of the comment page to get really good discussion. So, regardless of how many trolls there are, they remain out of view. This was Slashdot's greatest innovation, IMO.

      Reddit deals with the same issues: plenty of smart users, so they need a good ranking to keep the good comments at the top. Reddit used to use Slashdot's approach to ranking, but the inherent moderation system is different so it didn't work. The average comment in an active story on Reddit can get dozens of mods VS less than 1 on Slashdot. Reddit's problem was Slashdot's system heavily biased in favor of comments with a lot of moderation (upvotes minus downvotes is scaled higher). Typically, the first few non-troll comments were fixed at the top. On Slashdot this isn't a problem because mod points are rare so people use them with more care; also, the maximum score is capped at 5.

      Reddit recently started using a more statistically sound approach which rewards high upvote:downvote ratios, and the comment quality has drastically improved. It saved the site, IMO. Slashdot is still known for having better quality comments than Reddit, and I commend them for it.

      See http://blog.reddit.com/2009/10/reddits-new-comment-sorting-system.html [reddit.com] for more information on reddit's new system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        No, I really don't think so, I often browse at 0 or -1 and even then the comments in general seem more intelligent. Sure there are a lot of offtopic trolls, but I still think that is far better than ontopic stupid people (though there are of course a far bit of them).

    • To my way of thinking, there are main two factors at work here

      1) The nature of the discussion. The kind of people who frequent 4chan and digg not have... the patience needed to discuss the kind of stories or threads on Slashdot. Stories about plastic flash memory and drivers in the Kernel are simply not very attractive to the kind of person for whom posting "lol" and "NO U" is a way of life.

      2) The moderation system. Like it or not, the moderation and karma system helps separate the wheat from the chaff in comment threads. There have been complaints about group think and even censorship, but by and large a casual reading of +4 and +5 posts gives readers quality feedback on the story and is often even more educational than RTFA. In the last 5 years, I've learned more about technology from +5 comments on Slashdot than from any other source. Vapid posts are kept to a minimum and while there are many of them, funny posts do I think keep the discussions lively and interesting.

      Another big factor to my mind is the lack of anything resembling post-counts, avatars, images, or anything that would be regarded as cruft(I'm still using the 1.0 discussion system so YMMV). This site is all about text and its content, and that is the way it should be. You can read Slashdot on lynx and get essentially the same discussion(minus the soothing green light). The signal to noise ratio on pages is high, in terms of raw content and on the quality of that content. Slashdot proves that you don't need the latest in web N.0 technology trends to run a good site, and long may it continue to do so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      Digg is direct democracy, Slashdot is a republic.

      I've seen the most intelligent comments get buried to negative infinitey on digg simply because they went against the prevailing group think at the moment. Not so much here.

      And you're correct, every UI change here has been an unimprovement.

  • Congrats! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nametaken (610866) * on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:04PM (#30408180)

    Congrats /. and "Thanks!"

    You've been a regular haunt of mine longer than any other tech site and I'm glad you're still around. :)

    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      How about we celebrate when we reach a round number, like 131,072. [google.com] Shouldn't a binary milestone count for more here?

  • by axjms (167179) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:06PM (#30408196) Homepage

    third post?!

    I am curious to find which one of us reading this has the lowest account number? I had a really low one but lost that account..

  • by canajin56 (660655) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:08PM (#30408214)
    There may be 100,000 stories, but what's that without dupes though? 1000, 2000 tops? ;)
  • Congratulations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:08PM (#30408218)

    From a new user.

    Here's to the next 100k.

    If it was ever all laid out, this site would actually be a pretty interesting resource for future historians. Of course, that depends on future historians being able to read whatever formats the site is stored in.

    Anybody remember the Domesday Book project in Britain from the 80's being digitised into a 'permanent' format, that was obsolete a decade later.?

    Anyway, kudos.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:09PM (#30408222) Journal

    At least we know they used the right data type [slashdot.org] for the stories ;)

  • CmdrTaco (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:14PM (#30408292)

    I'm curious about CmdrTaco saying the site isn't always what he wants it to be; care to elaborate?

    I'm seriously not trying to start a flame war or anything like that; just curious as to how the site has differed from your vision for it.

  • by Stephen Williams (23750) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:17PM (#30408328) Journal

    ...to a geek. We should hold off celebrating until the next power of two. Looking forward to the 131,072nd story!

    -Stephen

  • by Hecubas (21451) on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:20PM (#30408360)

    Thanks for the good work over the years, keep it up.

  • by Sebilrazen (870600) <blahsebilrazen@blah.com> on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:33PM (#30408542)
    /. keeps me from productively working myself out of a job.
  • by karnowski (313582) on Friday December 11, 2009 @07:14PM (#30408948)

    What CmdrTaco failed to mention is that when you remove all the duplicate articles they're only at 75,654.

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