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CmdrTaco Looks Back on Fifteen Years of Slashdot 178

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hot-grits dept.
CmdrTaco sent in a link to his weblog post looking back on his experience running Slashdot for fifteen years: "For me the story of Slashdot is utterly inseparable from my own life. I built it while still in college: when normal people did their homework or had personal lives, I spent my evenings making icons in The Gimp, crafting perl in vim or writing a new story to share with my friends. I’ll never forget the nights spent tailing the access_log and celebrating a line from microsoft.com or mit.edu with friends like Jeff, Dave, Nate, and Kurt."
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CmdrTaco Looks Back on Fifteen Years of Slashdot

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:28PM (#41539583)

    Over the last few years, my light hearted sarcasm was slowly replaced by bitterness. Somewhere along the line became unable to hide my feelings from my friends, family and finally even my co-workers.

    Yeah, that's called "aging" and it's pretty common. Generally speaking, your chronological age bears a proportional relationship to the percentage of time you spend bitching about shit. By the time you're collecting Social Security, it's pretty much 95% bitching (the other 5% consisting mostly of bragging about your retarded grandkids, who you think are geniuses for some reason).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ccguy (1116865)

      By the time you're collecting Social Security, it's pretty much 95% bitching (the other 5% consisting mostly of bragging about your retarded grandkids, who you think are geniuses for some reason).

      The slashdot population will no doubt spend that 5% doing something else. Probably bitching to new programmers about how their language is crap because it was designed for retards, as opposed to the ones we used to have that really exercised the brain.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      GET OFF MY LAWN!

      Damn Kids.... mumble mumble.... TURNIPS!.... mumble mumble....

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Yeah, that's called "aging" and it's pretty common.

      Common, yes, but not universal. In six decades you've experienced a hell of a lot more pain (and joy) than someone a third of your age. Most people start falling apart when they hit 40 (I was lucky, I've been in pain since I was a teenager, I hurt a lot worse then). When you're old you have a lot more to bitch about and a lot less to be glad of. Plus you have these dumbass kids who you used to be who think they know everything like you used to think you did

      • by Aighearach (97333) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @05:56PM (#41543433) Homepage

        But in Taco's case, he's not nearly old enough to be telling kids to get off his lawn or to be bitter and bitching. I'm actually a bit surprised. WTF does he have to be bitter about?

        Because it isn't an age issue, it is a been-at-this-job-too-long issue.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Most people start falling apart when they hit 40

        No they don't. Judging by my parents' generation I'd say more like 70 - 75 as long as they were medically fairly average (but still smoked, drank too much, etc,) Their parents started declining at about 60 -65. I'm expecting to be relatively fit and mobile at 80.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:33PM (#41539651) Journal

    We found one that could: Selling Slashdot was the right decision at the time: we never could have survived the growth, and the lean years after the bubble burst. However, the long term consequences of the decision wouldn’t be clear for years.

    This is so obvious to me. It's like watching a band sign a big contract thinking it's the greatest thing to ever happen to them. Even with the latest move Slashdot editors think it's only a good thing [slashdot.org]. If you sell, you need to consider that you're selling your freedom, your control and your future. The bigger the company you're sold to, the most abstracted away from you all those things are. So consider all that and price it accordingly. I mean, now it'll probably go to the highest bidder ... what if a giant just wanted to buy Slashdot to shut it down because of the negative press it generates for them?

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:34PM (#41539673)

      Slashdot editors publicly claim they think it's only a good thing

      FTFY

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:41PM (#41539767) Journal
      It's the most depressing article ever on Slashdot. It makes it sound like Slashdot is dying.
      • by Onymous Hero (910664) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:05PM (#41540075)

        It's the most depressing article ever on Slashdot. It makes it sound like Slashdot is dying.

        Let's not jump to conclusions - after all, Netcraft hasn't confirmed anything yet...

      • by AnotherShep (599837) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:06PM (#41540089)
        Is Netcraft here to confirm it?
      • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:11PM (#41540149) Homepage

        It has been for years, you should have been here in the beginning.

        The biggest problem is that the fight against the trolls and shills was lost. I have watched really good insighful posts get modded to oblivion because it said anything negative about Android, even when it was 100% true and offered a solution. Same for Microsoft Shills and shill mods. The Moderator system seems to be really easy to game, and it's really really easy to make an autoposter that reposts the +5 comments to the dupes to get into the moderation pool. Read at -1 and look at the insane amount of spam that get's on the site.

        Although slashdot could get worse, Gawker Media could buy Slashdot and install their crap-tastic commenting system.

        • Read at -1 and look at the insane amount of spam that get's on the site.

          I have no choice but to browse at -1. Even though I tell the system to browse at 1, I see everything.

          I guess selling wasn't the smartest move since this simple act can't be done correctly.
          • by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot

            I have no choice but to browse at -1. Even though I tell the system to browse at 1, I see everything.

            Is this on the mobile version of the page? That's a known bug that should be addressed by the new mobile site, which is available at http://mbeta.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]. If not, can you provide details about your browser version and OS version, and perhaps a screenshot of what you're seeing? The comment slider is currently working as expect for me on all my browsers. If you'd like to do so privately, feel free to em

        • Pish. Like there weren't always trolls and shills, and idiot moderators.

          The moderation system works. Even Hacker News says so. Their main improvement is that there's no "funny" mod. Their main problem is that there's no "funny" mod. Also a relentless fixation on wheel-reinventing startup web technologies*, but that's to be expected.

          Browsing the site at high moderation levels gives you an extremely high S/N ratio. Yes, it's sad that $name doesn't post here any more. Lots of great people still do, though. I'

      • by Saxerman (253676) *

        The internet is a big place. And the competitive advantage held by the early Slashdot was the community. Certainly a 'nerd news' feed was also relatively nice and novel, but all that can be easily duplicated elsewhere. And it was. But for perhaps the first decade Slashdot was around, it felt like a quasi-niche group of smart kids. But too much of a good thing becomes... some other kind of thing. More and more people arrived and started to comment. Some of the old timers left. Eternal September had c

    • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:43PM (#41539789)

      However, the long term consequences of the decision wouldn’t be clear for years.

      Consequences like the MTV "Jersey Shore" banner ad on this article.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        However, the long term consequences of the decision wouldn’t be clear for years.

        Consequences like the MTV "Jersey Shore" banner ad on this article.

        If you choose to view ads, it's a bit futile then complaining about them. All advertising is shit, the only question is whether you will put up with x amount of annoyance in return for viewing stuff for nothing (if they are somehow unblockable).

    • by korgitser (1809018) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:17PM (#41540235)

      what if a giant just wanted to buy Slashdot to shut it down because of the negative press it generates for them?

      Easy.. we'll make our own slashdot, with blackjack and hookers. On second thought, scrap the /.

  • AC the whole time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:35PM (#41539681)

    I've been here since the start, but I've never wanted or felt I needed to create an account.
    In an age where we'll soon see sites require a facebook login for access (Or worse yet, a "like") despite all the "Natalie Portman, naked and petrified" and "Hot grits" and page widening trolls, thanks for keeping anonymous access an option.

    AC- Anonymous before "Anonymous"

    • by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:47PM (#41539859) Homepage
      Seriously - why are you still showing your face around here?! I've seen some of the stuff you've written. Most of it foul, disgusting, or just downright stoopid.
    • I have also followed /. since it had the original college domain name but I never bothered to create an account until one day I finally wanted to submit a story. If I had any idea how big of a deal having a small UID would have become I certainly would have registered much earlier. Oh well, at least I like my big 6 digit UID because Seven ate Nine and I graduated in 94.

    • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:22PM (#41541031)

      I would have done the same had it not been for John Katz, the day they added the option to block authors for registered users was the day I signed up.

  • Thank you! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by farrellj (563) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:37PM (#41539715) Homepage Journal

    For spending that time to create this community. I've had many years of enjoyment from your work!

    From an early admirer...

    Farrell

  • A good read (Score:4, Insightful)

    by willie3204 (444890) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:39PM (#41539731)

    And one that any person who reads slashdot daily should take in.
    Being slashdotted still means something to the people that were around when it happened daily...

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:46PM (#41539837) Homepage Journal
    At least he recognizes that the site was in decline when it was sold. Some might criticize him for not doubling down and putting himself back in to it, but he made his choice.

    Welcome to the new slashdot - facebook news for conservatives.
    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:51PM (#41539925) Homepage Journal

      At least he recognizes that the site was in decline when it was sold. Some might criticize him for not doubling down and putting himself back in to it, but he made his choice. Welcome to the new slashdot - facebook news for conservatives.

      Yea, I've been seeing that strawman pop up here pretty much daily for the last decade: "Oh, there's a bunch of posters with whom I disagree, Slashdot is falling apart, becoming a haven for the [insert group you don't like]!

      The behavior would be astonishing, if I weren't as well versed in human nature.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The behavior would be astonishing, if I weren't as well versed in human nature.

        Indeed. I first noticed this syndrome with MUDs back in the day. Imms would come or go; changes to gameplay would be made, and players would inevitably pine for the golden days that never really were.

        Imagine my shock when I found out this applied to every facet of life.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        Yea, I've been seeing that strawman pop up here pretty much daily for the last decade: "Oh, there's a bunch of posters with whom I disagree, Slashdot is falling apart, becoming a haven for the [insert group you don't like]!

        If you think that's all it is, you have not been paying attention. Informed, well-reasoned disagreements are part of what made /. what it is, or was perhaps. Sadly, those have been largely supplanted by ill-informed and logically flawed disagreements. So yeah, even though it's to be expected as more and more of the retards find their way here, it is still lamentable. Wading through the dross, to get to something interesting/insightful/informative, grows more wearisome with each passing week, it seems.

        • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:21PM (#41541013) Homepage Journal

          Yea, I've been seeing that strawman pop up here pretty much daily for the last decade: "Oh, there's a bunch of posters with whom I disagree, Slashdot is falling apart, becoming a haven for the [insert group you don't like]!

          If you think that's all it is, you have not been paying attention. Informed, well-reasoned disagreements are part of what made /. what it is, or was perhaps. Sadly, those have been largely supplanted by ill-informed and logically flawed disagreements. So yeah, even though it's to be expected as more and more of the retards find their way here, it is still lamentable. Wading through the dross, to get to something interesting/insightful/informative, grows more wearisome with each passing week, it seems.

          Again, I've heard this argument many, many times over the past decade of following Slashdot, and not a soul, yourself included, has been able to provide any evidence whatsoever of any deviation from the norm.

          If you honestly believe "ill-informed and logically flawed disagreements" are a new concept to Slashdot (or even humanity in general), I propose that perhaps you are the one who hasn't been paying enough attention.

        • If you think that's all it is, you have not been paying attention. Informed, well-reasoned disagreements are part of what made /. what it is, or was perhaps. Sadly, those have been largely supplanted by ill-informed and logically flawed disagreements.

          Nah. The same crap has been going on about as long as I've been perusing Slashdot (well over a decade). And for about the same amount of time people have been bitching about it and claiming it heralds the imminent demise of the site.

          The reality is this: Slas

  • It was fun, some of the flame-wars, the me-toos, attacks of the sillies, etc. All about 20 years before /. came along. Funny how anonymity on a network produces such similar behavior in completely independent groups separated by time.

  • by abhi2012 (2739367) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:58PM (#41540015) Homepage
    Thanks for creating slashdot, a place where I feel the most comfortable to read nerd news. Its clean, simple and is definitely by a team who understands the concept of a technology blog. Its really sad to leave something one has created and nurtured for so many years but I suppose that's the fact of quite a few products in the market now.
  • For me the story of Slashdot utterly inseparable from my own life.

    You can take the editor out of Slashdot, but you can't take the Slashdot-quality editing out of... him. The guy that. Whatever.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:00PM (#41540045)
    So how about some screenshots of how the site looked back in the day?

    .
  • It kills me to point this out, but his first "sentence" isn't even a sentence:

    For me the story of Slashdot utterly inseparable from my own life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:09PM (#41540119)

    BSD is dying
    this
    'nuff said
    correlation != causation
    epic fail
    IANAL, but
    ftw!
    1. something something, 2. ???, 3. profit
    RTFA
    wtf?
    I see what you did there
    cool story, bro
    Star Trek
    That word does not mean what you think it means
    Battlestar Galactica
    It's a trap
    Natalie Portman
    This is the year of Linux. --posted from my iPhone 4S
    your wrong
    loose
    lowest common denominator
    lol lol looooool
    i wRiTe LiKe tHiS cuZ iM a T00L. epic!
    prolly
    dunno
    I think Microsoft (and now here's an unnecessarily long sentence inside a parenthesis to make you forget about the main sentence) sucks.
    blame Micro$oft
    Apple fanbois
    Microsoft fanbois
    in 3, 2, 1...
    sarcasm tag
    Nothing of value was lost
    Bwahahaha
    troll
    +1
    mod parent up
    Slashdot members have little to no social skills
    your mom's basement
    Free as in beer. (Free as in prune juice for typical slashdot users)
    Duke Nukem Forever
    Bill Gates borg
    Developers! Developers! Developers!
    iPad/iPod killer. Lame.
    Al Gore invented the internets
    640k is all you'll ever need
    Tomato and DD-WRT because I'm el33t haxor
    you must be new here
    All you base are belong to us
    FUD
    you typical American elitist
    You insensitive clod
    goatse
    Imagine a beowulf cluster
    good luck with that
    I, for one, welcome our new overlords
    netcraft confirms it
    you + point = over your head. whooosh
    tl;dr
    My smug superiority usually prevents me from responding to an AC, but here goes
    I am a know-it-all in my high horse
    first post
    citation?
    fixed that for you
    that's what she said
    Orwellian 1984
    RMS
    thank you, captain obvious
    Sports? Girls? Sex? This is slashdot hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)
    Get off my lawn
    what does this have to do with news for nerds?
    Slashvertisement
    dupe
    slashdot has gone downhill recently im outta here

    LAME FILTER -- IGNORE BELOW
    A number of languages have been designed for the purpose of replacing application-specific scripting languages by being embeddable in application programs. The application programmer (working in C or another systems language) includes "hooks" where the scripting language can control the application. These languages may be technically equivalent to an application-specific extension language but when an application embeds a "common" language, the user gets the advantage of being able to transfer skills from application to application. JavaScript began as and primarily still is a language for scripting inside web browsers; however, the standardization of the language as ECMAScript has made it popular as a general purpose embeddable language. In particular, the Mozilla implementation SpiderMonkey is embedded in several environments such as the Yahoo! Widget Engine. Other applications embedding ECMAScript implementations include the Adobe products Adobe Flash (ActionScript) and Adobe Acrobat (for scripting PDF files).

  • by Chiller (1883) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:12PM (#41540157) Homepage

    If history is any indication, we'll see a dupe of this tomorrow. Probably posted by CmdrTaco himself!

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:18PM (#41540243)

    CmdrTaco, a /. account was the first one I created on the Web proper when i returned from China. I lost that 4 digit userID then due to economic & geographic dislocations, to my ongoing regret now. But in the ensuing years I came to feel like you were a brother I had never met. When you left Slashdot, it felt like a death in the family.

    I don't say that to be maudlin, but to mean your time at Slashdot was not just a chapter in your life and its, but in the lives of many. May we all do so well in life.

  • by JustOK (667959) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:25PM (#41540335) Journal

    I'll never forgot...

    Ah, typos. Way to really summarize the ./ experience.

  • WTF. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MRe_nl (306212) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:42PM (#41540493)

    "Before it was the famous nerd hub, Slashdot was simply my homepage. When I left, I was denied the right to continue to post on the page that I still called home".

    Why?

  • by dbarron (286) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @01:48PM (#41540549)

    I'm sad to see the changes...and I will agree that SlashDot is not what it was. I've been considering frequenting it less. I seldom post, but I do read a lot of articles (and quite often commentary).
    Course, I'm not what I was 15 years ago either :)

    • Personally, I am (ahem) quite a bit more than I was 15 years ago.

      [Self: Put down the donut and walk away...]

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Yeah, sure. That's what *EVERYONE* says... "I only read Slashdot for the articles..."

    • Agreed. My first Slashdot account was in the high four digits, not as old school as yourself, but I've been reading for a while. My current Slashdot account is newer still.

      But back in the day, Slashdot was THE place online for a generation of people (young and old, but the overlap of a particular community and a particular time period) that saw computing, technology, and the Internet come of age and that were deeply interested in and involved with these things at all levels.

      I wonder if maybe some of the Sla

      • by dbarron (286)

        Yes, I suppose you're right (excellently thought out post btw). I seldom do anything I'd call hacking these days either. I do more 'system integration' and still nerdy stuff on occasion, but far far less frequently than back in the day, when we lived/breathed/and didn't eat it.
        I was just learning PERL when Rob first put up the site and I was impressed at what he'd done with it as CGI. Nowdays, I write in PERL on occassion for quick and dirty scriplets, but not often. And you're right, Slashdot was a gre

      • by Pav (4298)

        The creatives are around and strong, just not here so much. They always retreat to the fringes because creativity is like a nuclear reaction - if it gets diluted past a certain critical mass it mostly stops happening. The places I've discovered it online lately have been Diaspora - panned here yesterday because it isn't popular (precisely why it's successful in certain respects), and IRC where I've been interacting with people working on projects I make some small contributions to. The 3D printing commun

  • by concealment (2447304) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:14PM (#41540925) Homepage Journal

    This was interesting reading. Bittersweet, because there's always doubt over a sale. No matter what anyone says, if you created it, it's yours and you have a moral right to it. In the hands of commerce however, others control it, and use facts/figures to justify actions based on knowledge from the past.

    I think it makes sense instead for Slashdot to think of the future. There is always going to be room for a site that covers geek topics, and no one does it like Slashdot. It's a potent mix of technology, culture and politics that has always been at the forefront of changes in the technology field. If anything, it's time for Slashdot's "owners" (the community is the real owner) to re-invest in updating the site, and to stay the course. Don't try to make it into Facebook, because Slashdot and its appeal are fundamentally different.

    What's dying is the internet as it has become in successive iterations: post-1996, post-2002, and whatever came after that. AOL wrecked the internet and died, Myspace died, Facebook is failing because the power users are leaving, since the site has become basically a work-day time-waster for cube slaves. The branching of the internet audience into niches is the real story here, not the attempt of a few people (even Wikipedia) to control what everyone is thinking.

    If I had one suggestion, it would be to cover more of the underground. People are living outside the grid, even if from within the grid, in more ways and more interesting ways than ever before.

    • by Pav (4298)
      Why the bitterness? :) Yes, your seaside community is now a concrete jungle but it just means you need to pull up stumps and move on - the skyscrapers aren't going away. I've spoken in other posts here about creatives retreating again to the fringes (which used to be the entire Internet) and setting up new communities or reviving old ones. Personally I've discovered Diaspora... it's fresh and alive with creative people - I'd forgotten what that looks like. I'm back on IRC after 10 years(!)... there ar
      • Interesting post as is the one you replied to. I've learned so much from Slashdot over the past thirteen or fourteen years and really enjoyed the community. Personally, I feel something like a social semantic desktop, based around emerging standards for exchanging semantic information, may be in our near future though.

        Here is something I posted to the Diaspora list on that about two years ago, included here in its entirety:
        "Raising the bar to supporting a Social Semantic Desktop"
        https://groups.google.com/fo [google.com]

  • So slashdot was sold to Andover.net on n June 29, 1999 for $1.5 million in cash and $7 million in Andover stock at the IPO price (see ultra depressing GeekNet stock chart) [yahoo.com]

    Winamp was sold to AOL on June 1999, for $80m.

    With CmdrTaco's bitterness, I can't help but see this quote apply from Justin Frankel (founder of Winamp and later gnutella):

    "For me, coding is a form of self-expression. The company controls the most effective means of self-expression I have. This is unacceptable to me as an individual, therefore I must leave." - from a blog posting announcing his resignation from AOL [slate.com]

    Cmdr, you should sit down with Justin and compare notes...

  • I see maybe two reasons: (1) Slashdot was hybrid moderated and rated. Digg was all rated. That way digg seemed to be just another variation of google news. I always found more interesting stories on slashdot.

    (2) Digg sold its soul to the venture capitalist looking for "social media" plays. They lost their techie heart and just became another advertising site.
  • Is that from the beginning, I always considered it to be a place to go to experience discussions that I just could not have with my "real" circle of friends and peers. It made me feel like I "belonged" somewhere. Thank you CmdrTaco. I agree with a fellow poster, an excellent read.

    S-

  • Before podcasts were even called podcasts, I loved listening to Rob and his friends chat about the stories in their geeky, witty and hilarious hosting style. I felt like part of the gang and re-listened to most episodes a few times on my old Diamond Rio 500 on the way too and from University. Thanks for making geeks hip, social and fun!

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