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Announcements Slashdot.org

Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds! 2219

Posted by timothy
from the there-would-be-this-picture-of-a-cat dept.
We've had only a few major redesigns since 1997; we think it's time for another. But we really do take to heart the comments you've made about the look and functionality of the beta site that houses Slashdot's future look. So let's all slow down. Right now, we're directing 25 percent of non-logged-in users to the beta; it's a significant number, but it's the best way for us to test drive this new design, to have you show us what pieces need to be fixed, and how. If you want to move back to Classic Slashdot, that path is available: from the Slashdot Beta page, you just need to select the "Slashdot Classic" link from the footer (or this link). We're committed to keep you informed of the plans as changes are implemented; we can't promise that every user will like every change, but we don't want anything to come as a surprise. Most importantly, we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready. And — okay, we've got it — it's not ready. We have work to do on four big areas: feature parity (especially for commenting); the overall UI, especially in terms of information density and headline scanning; plain old bugs; and, lastly, the need for a better framework for communicating about the How and the Why of this process. Some of you have suggested we're not listening; on the contrary, some of us are 'listening' pretty much full-time. We're keeping you informed of this process, because we're a community and we want to take everyone with us. But, yes, we're trying something new. Why? We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience. We want to give our current audience the space where they are comfortable. And we want a platform where we can experiment with different views of both comments and stories. It's not an either/or. It's going to be both. If we haven't communicated that well enough, consider this post a first step to fixing that. And in the meantime, we're not sorry to have received a flood of feedback, most of it specific, constructive and substantive. Please keep it coming. We will be adding more specific info here in the days to come.
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

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  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:47PM (#46180049) Journal
    Why say anything it isn't like you are going to listen or act on our concerns.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:51PM (#46180111)

      Exactly. If they were really listening they would just stop doing what they're doing. Instead of just plowing forward pretending to listen.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dosius (230542) <bridget@buric.co> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:52PM (#46180127) Journal

        If they gave a flip about what we thought about the site, it would probably look the same as it did 10 years ago. If it ain't broke, etc.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

          by msauve (701917) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:03PM (#46180329)
          Really, it's simple - more Unicode support, less OMG! Ponies!!!
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:04PM (#46180343)

      This post indicates that our concerns have been heard. Give them a chance. Clearly discussions are taking place and some changes will be made. Whether those changes will be acceptable to the community can only be judged after we have seen them; but in view of this post it is most unfair to say that our concerns have not been heard. Why do you suppose they used the megaphone graphic?

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:10PM (#46180449) Journal

        I think the community has made it pretty clear that the beta is unwanted and will lead to Slashdot's demise. Toss it, bugfix the classic version and make slow incremental improvements. Maybe we'll end up where the Beta team wanted us to go (though I doubt it), but at least it's not like "At some unspecified time in the near future we're going to stick a flaming bag of shit in your mouth. Get Ready!!!!"

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BranMan (29917) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:21PM (#46180625)

      OK. Ok. First a disclaimer - I have not even looked at the Beta. Now, onto my observation - at a company I worked at we took the existing UI for a massive product and wrote a new UI from the ground up. Sent to evaluate it my overall comment was - it is NOT ready. However, so much time and effort was put into it that it was moved out to production anyway, over my protests. ALL the customers stuck with it did not like it, bug reports ballooned out of all control, and we spent the next year and a half fixing problems while our credibility was hit REAL hard.

      On the other hand, the change was needed in the end, it did provide a lot more flexibility, allowed for new features that could not be done in the old one, and it looked snazzier.

      However, the lesson to take here is that if it not ready, do NOT push it out anyway. We had a basically captive audience due to the nature of our software. We should have taken that extra 6 months to a year to iron things out. Slashdot does not have a captive audience. Please keep that in mind. Do NOT release it until it is at least as good as the current system - no matter how long that takes (or how much it hurts to keep spending on it).

      I may not have a 4 digit id, but I have a 5 digit one. Please listen to the voices of experience here.

    • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:26PM (#46180677)

      Time to move on guys and gals.

      I haven't heard that much managementspeak in years, and rookie managementspeak at that. I especially like the "more accessible and shareable by a wider audience" comment. Let me paraphrase that for you, [We are going to bind our logins with FB, twitter, intrusive ads, and everything else we can get our hands on to make sure no one is anonymous. We have implemented part of this already with googleapis and bootstrapcdn. We will sell that information to the highest bidder. Everything you write will be used against you in the future. This includes any resume you have every posted with us. That way employers get a full picture of the people they are hiring, or at least the picture we want to give them. We are committed to treating everyone like simple minded sheep and keeping them informed of the upcoming reaming. We can't promise every sheep will like it. But rest assured our velcro gloves are there to reassure you of this process.]

      Bye bye.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:48PM (#46180059)

    Slashdot BETA Sucks.

    Your post here is a steaming pile because you know "Timothy" that You folks have absolutely NO intention of backing away from the new un-needed and useless "design" for the sake of "design" design. "Web Designers" and marketers have a lot in common, they want to foist "pretty" shit that serves no real benefit.

    Hopfully Bruce Perens will reserect his Slashdot alternative that failed when Slashdot didn't SUCK as much as it does now.

    Join the boycott 10-17 February!

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:48PM (#46180061)

    Thank you for acknowledging us. I'd like to see a new SlashDot that's even better than the old. Please let us help you define it.

    • by EL_mal0 (777947) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:57PM (#46180231)

      I agree that if /. is changed, it should change for the better. My big question is why should we believe you're listening now? At the beta rollout in October you solicited comments about what to improve on the beta. The users responded with >1100 comments and lots of emails. However, many of the same problems (most notably a broken comment system) are still there. Five months and functionality that is foundational to the way people use this site is still not there.

      The folks at /. might be listening, but are they going to do anything with what they hear?

    • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:01PM (#46180299)
      Here is a thought. Ask the users, what they want, then give it to them.
      Use the Slashdot poll for something useful for a once. Put the top requested features, in a poll, and use the results to help shape your development cycle.

      Those are just off the top of my head.
    • by B1ackDragon (543470) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:06PM (#46180363)
      Yup, and here are some suggestions: (sigh, maybe I'll see if I can get this through their suggested email support as well... will that actually help? Editors: what say you? Does this stuff speak more loudly to the higher-ups if it comes through certain channels?)

      Keep some space for ads if you want; I don't give a shit and I realize you've got bills to pay. I have the option of turning them off, but I don't because I like the site.

      That said, information density is important. If you bump the font size and line spacing or significantly drop the comments column width, we can't read the comments or their surrounding comments' context. There'd better be a lot of lines before I have to "click for more", and I never want to have to "click for more" on the front page. This might mean reducing the size of those terrible banner images.

      We need to be able to easily see the information on posts and navigate the discussion. Links to parent posts are absolutely necessary, current score, subject, and at least a preview of the post content if it's collapsed. Other useful information provided that I'd like to see stay prominent includes the username and UID number of poster. It was tough for me to get used to the collapsed/non-collapsed system with the last redesign, but it actually ended up giving a lot of information in a tight space and generally reserved more for better comments.

      As it currently stands, the two problems cited above alone will kill the discussion oriented nature of Slashdot, users will desert, and revenue will tank.

      Since there's a redesign in the works, this _could_ be a good chance to make some things actually work better! The "full" "collapsed" and "hidden" threshold sliders never seemed to work right for me. Obviously better encoding support would be nice. Maybe someday I won't have to type html to do simple formatting stuff. Since many of us are coders, perhaps some support for inline code could be cool? I won't harp on speed or javascript much, but I'm sure others will.
      • by B1ackDragon (543470) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:18PM (#46180579)
        Oh yeah, speaking of the front page, I'll be honest, I look at three things: the headline, skim the post (awww yeah classic slashdotter here), and I see how many comments have been made. Comment count combined with headline for each and every story is a quick indicator if it's worth checking out the discussion or if I should move on down the page. (An article about a new kernel extension I don't care about it with 40 comments? Boring. An apple article with 854 comments? Probably also boring [unless I'm in the mood for reading some flamage].)
    • by hey! (33014) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:25PM (#46180671) Homepage Journal

      I vote for "I don't care how it looks as long as it has feature parity." Make it look any way you want but the comment system should be considered sacrosanct.

      Classic Slashdot is ugly, amateurish, and extremely dated looking. Beta is ugly, amateurish, slightly less dated looking. It would have looked up to date in 2000 or so. Maybe.

      Still, I understand the Dice wants to bring new users on board,and that some young 'uns may be put off with the frankly weird aesthetic of classic Slashdot. So I can live with the new look. But I can also live with Windows 8, and that puts me in a very small minority. If you want to expand your community by keeping the regulars and bringing in fresh customers, you have to bend over backwards to make the regulars feel valued.

      Anyhow, isn't it feasible these days to give people whatever styling they prefer? Changing a community site like Slashdot (or Digg, or fark, both of which have had instructively disastrous redesigns) is a bit like changing the neighborhood bar to attract a younger, hipper crowd. The very idea puts the regulars off. But *unlike* a bar, you can contrive things so the old-timers still feel like they're in the same old ugly but comfortable place.

  • by esldude (1157749) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:48PM (#46180063)
    And you can all thank me for sending my feedback in as this appeared shortly thereafter. And I am kidding of course, just a coincidence. Hopefully this isn't just lip service as so often the case in these situations. Sorry for the skepticism. But this is a good response finally by the people behind the current slashdot.
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:48PM (#46180065)
    I don't think you have understood. We don't want you to slow down. We want you to stop; reverse; appologise for being so out of touch with your user base; and promise to never do anything so stupid again.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maliqua (1316471) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:56PM (#46180211)

      that's pretty much it, if you do insist on redesigning slashdot, at least keep it slashdot, this change was drastic and generic. we dont need another news site thats exactly like all the other news sites, we want this site, as is if you really really want to change a font somewhere sure, go nuts tinker that css a little bit

      but do not expect us to react well to turning this site into generic garbage.

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arth1 (260657) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:02PM (#46180317) Homepage Journal

      When they say "we can't promise that every user will like every change", I think they mean "we won't promise that a majority will like the change".

      The solution is simple: can Beta as a failure. Be grown-up enough to admit that it did not work, and start again from scratch, designing with the contributors in mind. You know, the guys who provide the majority of the content people come here for - the discussions.
      It takes courage to admit that you've been wrong. That would be respected. But polishing a turd is not going to win anyone's admiration, or even sympathy.

    • Exactly Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SashaMan (263632) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:13PM (#46180503)

      I decided to log in with my slashdot account to share this, something that I haven't done in years, for one single reason: with every new slashdot "redesign", the USABILITY of the site gets far, far worse (despite the site looking more "designy"). It really is clear that you guys have no idea how users actually USE your site. For example:

      1. With all this copious whitespace, I can fit like 1 or 2 comments on the screen. Finding valuable or highly rated is like finding a needle in a haystack.
      2. Everything is expanded by default, which, again makes it tiresome to skip through pages of low-rated comments.
      3. The comment sort order makes no sense.

      You don't seem to understand that the main value of Slashdot is (or rather was, from a long time ago) the comment section, and with each successive revision it just gets progressively worse. No one give a fuck about your flat, "techcrunchy", "Androidy" design when you keep making the site so much harder to use.

      I've popped over to slashdot every week or so when all my links on reddit turn purple, just to see if you guys have improved, and it's kind of astonishing how absolutely backwards you view the design process.

  • by jobsagoodun (669748) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:48PM (#46180071)

    How do I check it out? Anyone got a link, or care to comment on if its any good or not?

  • by drsmack1 (698392) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:50PM (#46180089)

    It seems to me that the one unifying opinion of those critical of the changes is that *no changes are necessary*. So, clearly this is NOT something that is meant to benefit the users - it's more likely part of some monetization plan.

    Just admit it and move on - stop blowing smoke up our asses like our opinion actually matters. Maybe it did once, but that hasn't been the case for quite a while now.

  • Patch Notes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4x0t (1245872) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:50PM (#46180095) Homepage
    Please detail what you think you are changing other than UI. We're technical people and we don't like change for the sake of change, or, even worse, aesthetics only.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:51PM (#46180107)

    ... If classic slashdot goes away then I will stop visiting slashdot. Partly out of the way this has been handled, but partly because "beta" slashdot doesn't work properly without javascript.

    If you don't support people who don't wish to have needless code execution on their machine - then I am not visiting. Simple.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:53PM (#46180137)

    We want to give our current audience the space where they are comfortable.

    This is the fundamental problem between how the corporate overlords think and how the community thinks. Until this difference is resolved you will get the continual complaints and the eventual mass exodus. We are a community. We are not an audience.

    I submit stories. I read stories. I add comments. I moderate comments. I am the reason that there is ad revenue.

    I am Slashdot.

  • by sandbagger (654585) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:54PM (#46180157)

    Okay, they've said they're applying the brakes so don't attack then for doing what you want.

  • by mugnyte (203225) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:55PM (#46180201) Journal

    Subject is rule #1.
    Don't put anything in the way of that.

    "Shareable by a wider audience" is too vague. What is difficult with the current design?

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:29PM (#46180733) Homepage

      "Shareable by a wider audience" is too vague.

      From this and some of the things on the Beta FAQ [slashdot.org] I get the sinking feeling they're trying to move in the same direction that so many other sites are... into being "Web 2.0" and "social" and becoming SlashFaceBook.* They really don't grasp that a good chunk of the community doesn't care for that. (Heck, they don't even grasp that we are a community as opposed to being their "audience".)

      * Comparing that bland and meaningless FAQ to the original [slashdot.org] tells you all you need to know. They're dumbing it down.

  • by deconfliction (3458895) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:57PM (#46180227)

    Most importantly, we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready. And — okay, we've got it — it's not ready.

    Why are you so inflexible on the idea of keeping classic slashdot *forever*. Think of it as a protected historical landmark in the internet space. To help future generations understand where this 'blogging' thing really came from? Computers are good like that, keep classic.slashdot.org FOREVER and your audience^H^H^H CONTRIBUTORS might stop rallying against you.

  • Don't like Beta. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:57PM (#46180229) Homepage Journal

    I got redirected once. Was once too often. For some reason the current process seems to think that content comes last, and fancy headers, deasign and pages mean more. They don't. The beta page wasted a ton of space, showed me less content, was less clear and more invasive. I did not like it, did not enjoy it.

    Why is it somehow we have ended up with people who are making things like Slashdot beta, Microsoft Metro, the new IOS, Gnome. A bunch of people who came out of the worst design schools ever? A bad decade at the schools? We just got unlucky?

    I like slashdot, and have been around for a long time. But I'm not your damn plaything. Mess with the site, content and my usage - be warned, I can go away. So can others.

  • by Nightbrood (6060) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:58PM (#46180243)

    It is nice that you speak about what YOU want. However, in the scheme of things, what you want is diametrically opposed to the community you claim to cherish. The appeal of Slashdot is the pedantry, the technical nature of things, and the overall level of the discussion. If I want to interact with a "wider audience" I can go talk on the Disqus comments that litter CNN, CNBC, etc. Short of having Wiki articles linked to every single in depth commenter's response I don't know how you are going to make things more "accessible" to a "wider" audience.

    Also, please stop with calling us your "audience." It is demeaning. If you value our contributions to the functioning of your site so little that you consider us passive players, then I hope you press forward with your train wreck of a beta so that you can see just how much the "audience" actually contributes.

    Lastly, tell the MBAs and PR guys/gals to lay off the BS and have a straightforward honest conversation with us. We are far from the drooling idiots you seem to think we are.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @06:59PM (#46180253) Homepage Journal

    You know, exactly like the old interface, but with unicode.

    There are lots of things that are annoying about slashdot, but almost none of them are found in the interface. None of them really need changing, except the lack of unicode support. Instead of wasting time trying to change the way slashdot looks when it looks just fine (It's not fancy, but it's clean compared to most of the web and it doesn't waste horrible amounts of space) you should spend the time on unicode. It's not sexy, but it is important.

  • by ugen (93902) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:00PM (#46180275)

    In the words of Homer Simpson - "Just because I don't care doesn't mean that I don't understand".

    I think the recent slashdot poll was directly tied to the redesign. Slashdot audience is getting older, the crowd is now mid-to later in their careers. I can see that - I've been a consistent reader since 1997.

    So, Dice decides it is time to rejuvenate the website. I suspect that the objective is to pare down the number of crusty old coots, who block ads and otherwise freeload, and get the "hip, young" crowd that now hangs on Reddit and what not. It sounds like someone with experience in marketing had a hand in this.

    The problem as I see it is that Slashdot is more of a Saab of web/news industry. You have a specific image, and a dedicated customer base. Historically, attempts at rebranding and reinventing oneself, in particular for a company with that kind of background, are generally not successful. This is particularly so when a rebranding is done in such an obvious, hamfisted way.

    Dice was never a particularly web-savvy company. I've been using them as long as I've been a slashdot reader. Dice (no offense) is a poorly designed concentrator for all the spammy recruiters out there. It's a bit of a cesspool, but it serves its purpose. However, given their history and performance - it is highly unlikely they have sufficient web/social/marketing expertise to turn this site around.

    Slashdot hasn't been as exciting as in the past for a while now. What it needed is fresh ideas, better ways to get involved in duscussion, *more* interactivity and possibly ability to connect among its users (I don't suggest it become a facebook, but it's has a long way to go in improving social side). Slashdot will not, in my view, benefit from gaudy pictures, "web 3.0" design and general dumbing down. You will not get the "hip crowd" and you will lose your current user base. Look at Saab for guidance.

  • sux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tjanke (813633) <tim@jan[ ]org ['ke.' in gap]> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:01PM (#46180289)
    The new design adds useless eye candy, makes it harder to skim through the posts to find the ones that interest me. Slashdot works really, really well as-is. Please, please, please, leave well enough alone.
  • Comment filter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javaguy (67183) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:02PM (#46180309)

    I tried the beta this morning. There was no obvious way to show only the comments rated 4* and above. There are ways of seeing funny or insightful posts, but you don't get to control how many.

    The new design seems less space efficient. More clicks are required to read stories (including this one).

    No plans to change in the near future.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:03PM (#46180319) Homepage

    Thank you for listening, and for taking our passion for this site and its battle-tested interface to heart. I look forward to seeing how serious you are about providing -- at least as an option -- the kind of lean, dense, static UI that made Slashdot work so well for so long.

  • Two comments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boristhespider (1678416) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:04PM (#46180333)

    I think I've got reasonable karma on here and the very few who recognise my login probably think I don't post total drivel *all* of the time, so I'd like to put in my two bob's worth. I don't like the beta as it is at the minute. The front page looks fine to me: lots of white space, but I can live with white space and it's no different from other websites, although I could very much do without the constant targetted videos from advertiers; but it's the comments pages that are distinctly compromised compared to the present setup. It's far harder to close an entire thread; it's far harder to close sections and leave others open and see quickly which comments have been added since the last refresh; far less content is onscreen at one time; and the comments screen is far too narrow, which compounds the previous issues. I'm sure that with more reflection I could think of other issues with the comments, but those are probably my greatest complaints.

    Over the last few days the comments pages have been increasingly dominated by childish anti-beta messages. I understand these are probably born out of frustration and irritation (even anger on some parts), but they've made the website far less usable than if the beta had been rolled out without argument. This is the flipside of it: no redesign is worth fucking up a website over, and certainly doesn't justify the sheer amount of petulant whining the boards have been filled with.

    And that said, over the last couple of days, when I've had mod points I've tended to use them to at least reverse the modding down of people protesting the new beta, since there seem to be no other avenues for people who genuinely care about how the comments sections of slashdot are presented. I have no issue with a redesign, but diminishing the usability of a service is a pretty hamfisted way of increasing its profitability.

  • by Thanosius (3519547) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:04PM (#46180335)

    I've heard all this shit before - that the guys in charge are listening to your efforts, that your concerns are being taken under advisement and that the end result will something everyone will appreciate. What people here especially hate most of all is fucking corporate speak they've heard a thousand times before and despite from the bottom of their hearts. It's patronizing to the audience who know exactly how things will play out. They always follow the same formula

    People complained loudly to Microsoft regarding the all-caps of Visual Studio 2012/13 and Office 2013 during their pre-releases. What happened? They remained there, shouting back at the user in the finals. People complained to Microsoft regarding the lack of contrast between the various elements of the Office 2013 GUI as well as the default eye-melting white theme. What happened? Some very minor tweaks and the same eye-melting theme with minimal contract. They threw in a couple of darker themes which do add more contrast, but also make the software far more drab and miserable looking compared to say Office 2010, which in my mind is a thing of beauty.

    Companies don't care. They don't give a shit unless there's a real threat to their bottom line. I'm honestly surprised though that the powers that be aren't scrambling to push out the news that they're throwing away the beta as a failed experiment before more people sign off permanently and move to greener pastures.

  • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:05PM (#46180355)
    Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

    We are not the audience. We are the performers!
  • Communication (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:08PM (#46180417)

    "The new site is a work in progress so Classic Slashdot will be available from the footer for several more months."

    The ONLY reasonable interpretation is that after that it will not be. full stop.

    "It's not an either/or. It's going to be both. If we haven't communicated that well enough, consider this post a first step to fixing that."

    Did anyone anywhere ever think the the former communicates the latter?

    "And â" okay, we've got it â" it's not ready."

    So stop redirecting 25% of us until you've had a another good run at fixing it. And then, maybe put it out there and invite people to check it out instead of redirecting 1/4 of us while threatening us that its just months away from being the only site. You do realize a lot of us would have checked it out, given you feedback, and probably without having a nuclear meltdown over it.

    "We have work to do on four big areas: feature parity (especially for commenting); the overall UI, especially in terms of information density and headline scanning; plain old bugs; "

    So... The new logo design was good then!

    " the need for a better framework for communicating about the How and the Why of this process."

    If only this site had had a mechanism by which you could communicate with us and get feedback, perhaps in the form of comments! And if that mechanism itself had a mechanism with which to bubble the more interesting comments to the surface... why you'd really have something there!

    Are you just trolling us? :p

  • The Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:13PM (#46180515) Homepage Journal

    communicating about the How and the Why of this process

    I think this is one of the biggest reasons you are getting such negative pushback. A very large part of the active and vocal Slashdot audience (the "community") probably share a similar viewpoint when it comes to change. Change for change's sake is bad, and if you want to change something that works just fine then you'd better be able to give me a good, objective reason. So far that just isn't something we've seen. What I see is a site that's been redesigned with two goals in mind:

    • Jump on the current web design bandwagon. For example: poor text contrast, gradients and transparency that slows things down, etc.
    • Water down and weaken the commenting system. The original beta made it clear that the drivers of this change felt that the Slashdot comment system was too complex and should be "simplified". Taking it to a flatter model with less information about posts and their relationships, in addition to "lazy" loading comments just says that your target audience must feel like "comments are hard, let's go shopping!"

    We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site [that is] more accessible and shareable by a wider audience.

    What exactly is it about the current site that makes it inaccessible? Which audience are you trying to reach? I'm quite serious -- knowing this may make it easier for people to accept change (assuming that the audiences you're reaching out to aren't "advertisers" and "market analytics"). Just going based on what you've said it sounds like you want to make Slashdot Yet Another generic news aggregator. Don't you remember Digg? That sad story should have taught you a few lessons about the value of a generic news aggregator and the results of alienating a community.

    Will the new site finally support (even a small subset of) Unicode? Just adding support for that would probably make Slashdot accessible to more people than this absurd proposed redesign. No, I'm not kidding.

  • by ttucker (2884057) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:16PM (#46180557)
    I just tried to cruise the comments section using the beta, and that is where things are the worst. There is no quote parent button, and it made me copy and paste the reply title by hand. There is no link to get a permanent reference to a single comment. Comment text does not show bold or italic. Quoted text is merely italic, but not indented or anything.

    The mixture of serifed and sans-serif fonts feels disorganized, and does not seem to serve a clear purpose.

    Comments are the heart of Slashdot, and the current beta offering is not complete. It is more of an alpha... functionality is woefully inadequate.

    Curated articles are what set Slashdot apart from hive-thought sites like Reddit. Keep the articles unique and on topic, that is why I visit.
  • Listening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:17PM (#46180571) Homepage

    Some of you have suggested we're not listening; on the contrary, some of us are 'listening' pretty much full-time.

    If you're listening, there's no evidence of it. You were plainly and clearly told of the flaws in the Beta site back in October and you have completely failed to fix them in the intervening months. It's not like you missed a minor bug or two, or got the color wrong by one hex numeral... it's a complete failure to grasp how badly the new site is broken and how ugly it is or to do anything about it. We gave you months, and you've wasted them.
     

    okay, we've got it

    No, you don't "got" it. Not even close, despite having a thermonuclear weapon detonate in your lap.
     

    We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience

    And this shows just hopelessly you don't "got" it - we are not your audience, we are a community, we are Slashdot.

  • #46177459 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrL0G1C (867445) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:19PM (#46180593) Journal

    Sort out:
    Black text, white background, anything else is absurd.

    Ditch the boxes round the comments they are seriously ugly and not helpful.

    When I ask for the desktop version, I want the desktop version FFS, my phones screen has the same resolution as some laptop screens.

    Get rid of the option to choose all insightful, all interesting etc comments - it's pointless because of the crossover between these things and it would lead to some bizarre meaningless threads being displayed. Not useful.

    Bring back the user info, friend foe, userid etc, slashdot looks raped without it.

    Things worth keeping:
    The ability to mod without scrolling to the bottom of the page and hitting the mod button (I open the post in a new page to mod it so as not to lose my place/it's quicker)

    The ability to collapse threads.

    But that's it, the rest is a seriously bad downgrade.

    Things that should have been improved, why weren't they?
    The text box I'm typing in right now is tiny - why?

    There is 'allowed html' It would be nice to have some buttons to put those tags around some text when you highlight it.

    To any damn fool who's answer is well 'why don't you go and re-write the code yourself', I have the question - why didn't you build your own house and car?

  • by Glasswire (302197) <glasswireNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:19PM (#46180599) Homepage

    I think
    a) I like the beta, please do it asap
    b) It's not there yet but keep working on it, but don't turn it on now.
    c) It's an abomination. Do not use it ever.
    d) I don't read Slashdot you insensitive clod.

    If c) greatly exceeds the sum of a) and b) responses don't do it. All d) votes, for obvious reasons, don't count.

  • Feedback (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CyprusBlue113 (1294000) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:22PM (#46180631)

    Heres your feedback: The site is AWFUL.

    The reason I have thus far not taking your survey is it is HOPELESSLY biased in your favor and useless.

    Scrap the new site, or don't expect me to be here when it's implemented. Social media is fickle, and this site will be a myspace memory if you continue to ignore the userbase. We can always go tolerate reddit for a while until something else takes it's place. I've been coming here for 10 years, but this may end it for me.

  • by Gregory Arenius (1105327) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:22PM (#46180639)

    The new Slashdot Beta is so horrible its not just destroying Slashdot its destroying Beta.

    Remember when a Beta was cool? When you got to try the invite only gmail beta? When you got to beta test the next game in your favorite franchise? All that beta cool, destroyed in one fell swoop.

    I don't even want to teach my kids the alphabet now, just because it kinda has Beta in it. Hell, even Alpha is less cool now just because its fucking associated with Beta. Even Omega is a bit less glamorous.

    Shit, I'm going to have to switch to some sort of Early Testing, Testing, Final Testing sort of nomenclature for software releases now. Beta is that bad that just releasing other software labeled as a Beta is going to make me cringe.

    And Beta Carotene, well, right the fuck out of my diet, health consequences be damned.

    Fuck Beta,
    -Greg

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:24PM (#46180661)

    TFS says:

    > okay, we've got it — it's not ready. We have work to do on four big areas:
    > feature parity (especially for commenting); the overall UI, especially in terms of information density and headline scanning;
    > plain old bugs; and, lastly, the need for a better framework for communicating about the How and the Why of this process.

    Let's pretend for a moment that the folks making the decisions aren't so dense that they can't hear what everyone is telling them
    Let's pretend they don't want to pull a "new Coke". They DID put up the beta as an option for a long time and actively solicit feedback,
    after all, so maybe they are trying to get it right. What, specifically, are the problems that bother YOU? Any idiot on Twitter can squeal
    "omg it sucks!", but I think we have some people on Slashdot who are more capable and articulate than that. We can come up with
    better, more specific feedback than "omg it sucks!", can't we?

    For me, the biggest thing is I want to be able to see the subject lines of comments like I can on the classic site. If I down-modded
    comment has "hosts file" in the subject line, I know why it's down-modded and hidden - it's not something anyone wants to read,
    and I'm not going to read it. Conversely, a down-modded comment with "MPAA is right about ONE thing" in the subject line is probably
    down-modded because it challenges the groupthink of the Slashdot herd. That's something I'll click to read.

    OzPeter makes a great point in http://meta-beta.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org] /.ers submit the stories, vote for the stories in the firehouse, comment, moderate the comments, and meta-moderate the moderation. We pretty well run the site, leaving Dice to just run the _server_. We are not the "current audience", we are a _community_, not an _audience_. An audience is passive. There are a ten thousand news aggregators trying to get an audience. If Dice wants yet another site chasing the audience, you can sure go build one. Don't throw away the Slashdot community first though. Just go build DiceNews.com and advertise it on Slashdot. You want to leverage the Slashdot brand for a site that's supposed to appeal to a broad audience? Sorry, if you turn Slashdot into yet another a broad audience site the Slashdot brand will immediately have the same value as the Enron brand. That brand value just won't transfer if you mess up the community that is loyal to that brand.

  • Subjects suck. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:25PM (#46180667)

    Most importantly, we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready.

    Well, that's a pretty weaselly statement, since you guys were confident enough in your new site to start redirecting a significant portion of your users there.

    How about this instead -- "We will not remove Classic Slashdot." Make it an option if you really, truly believe that your beta site is actually better. You can set the new interface as the default, just make it easy to switch to the standard interface. Then everybody goes home satisfied.

  • death of a "brand" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jest3r (458429) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:27PM (#46180687)
    Please consider the following branding points:
    • Why did you make the logo smaller but increase the overall height of the top navbar? (now you have more wasted space up there for what?)
    • Why did you change the "Slashdot Green" colour? We all like the current green (the new green appears washed out).
    • Why are the Icons no longer beside the story titles? (the icons have always been a big part of the Slashdot "brand" and help with readability.)
    • Why did you remove the "Slashdot Green" title bars on all the stories? The title bars are also a big part of the Slashdot "brand" and also help with readability by clearly dividing the stories and providing an easy to see visual cue that delineates the new stories and even the comment threads.
    • Why did you remove the tags and/or make them boring? The tags added some dry humour to the stories (eg. whatcouldpossiblygowrong) which while subtle, was also a part of the Slashdot experience. Little unique details make a difference. Now the tags seem to be gone or just generic boring categorizations.
    • Why are you cutting off the Summary on the Homepage View? (reading the full summary without having to click anything is imperative to ensuring the website is readable.)
    • Why did you remove the Slashdot Green Title Bars from the comment threads? (the green title bars create an easy to see delineation between the comments and are easy to see even when scrolling fast. (they are also part of that Slashdot Brand I was talking about)

    • Why is there so much more padding and spacing between everything? Why are the font sizes so much larger? Did your user base suddenly become senior citizens?

    Over the past decade the Slashdot logo, the Slashdot green, the title bars and icons, unique details and config options have become part and parcel of the "Slashdot Brand". It's what makes Slashdot unique. By ignoring this you weaken your brand and your reader's loyalty. You are basically stripping away all that is Slashdot without adding anything useful or new!!!!

  • I Already Told You (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:28PM (#46180709)

    I already told you what was wrong with it and how to fix it.
    You didn't listen.

    Here it is again: http://i.imgur.com/rNPke5p.jpg [imgur.com]

  • by Nitage (1010087) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:30PM (#46180749)
    Beta must be abandoned as a failed experiment. It is awful - not due to bugs, but due to the intention behind the redesign. Your existing 'audience' is what makes slashdot. If you want a larger audience I suggest you create a celebrity gossip website. Awful.
  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:31PM (#46180765) Homepage

    First, thank you for to Timothy and the rest of Slashdot's management for taking the time to reply. Maintaining communications between the site owner and the community it serves is important to creating trust between the two groups.

    Nonetheless, a large part of me is screaming "about damn time", because this uproar could have been headed off twenty four hours ago if you had said exactly what you did with the above statement. That's not to say people would have believed you any more than do do now, but by remaining silent for a whole day you gave the impression that not only do you not care about what we think, but that it was corporate needs (legal, marketing, whatever) that kept you from issuing a statement. Smaller, individually owned websites tend to be quicker and more forthcoming with their responses because they don't have to go through various levels of approval first, and the Slashdot community - many of whom work in companies and are saddled with layers of middle-management pointlessly micromanaging their workflow - have little trust or love for corporate shenanigans. We tend to respect people more who speak bluntly and from their gut.

    Still, at long last we did get a response, so I am grateful for that. Even better, you claim to be taking our feedback into consideration. I'm wary as to the truthfulness of this statement, but - for the time being - I'm willing to offer an olive branch.

    Nonetheless, I think there is an onus upon Dice to be more forthright with their intentions with the redesign if they hope to regain some of the community's trust. Simple platitudes that you are "listening" are not sufficient. The biggest question we all have is to the overall goal of the redesign, especially since so many of the community feel it sacrifices what they consider the strength and draw of Slashdot: the community and the comments. We all understand that Dice is a business and needs to make money. We comprehend that increasing the audience is one method of achieving this goal. None of us, I think, are opposed to helping Slashdot become a more popular website. A redesign could draw in a new and larger readership. We get that. We just feel that your redesign is aimed solely at attracting new eyeballs while sacrificing your current user base.

    Community websites like Slashdot are not like CNet or NYTimes or Apple. Those websites are unidirectional; the information is pumped down to the readership by the owners and the community involvement is minimal. But Slashdot - and other similar sites - are bi-directional; as much (if not more) of the website's value comes from the readership; is it any wonder the readers feel a sense of ownership and pride of "their" website? Is it no wonder that they feel betrayed when one side unilaterally forces their vision onto the community?

    So I recommend that one of the web-designers at Slashdot take the time to walk us through the changes, both those we have already seen in beta and those you intend to work on moving forward. Let us know your reasoning for the different bits, how you came to these decisions, what your goals are. Have the designers write it up and - as much as possible - keep legal's and marketing's hands out of it. Be explicit, be detailed, be technical; we are, after all, the sort of audience who appreciates that sort of thing. Talk about your inspirations, and some of the feedback you have gotten. LET US KNOW WHY YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

    You also need to take the community's feedback into real consideration. Offer them different examples that they can vote on. Fark.com showed off preliminary Photoshop mock-ups of its redesigns long before the first line of HTML was written to its paying customers; you could try the same thing here. Let the audience pick which one they think is the best and then work from that one. Engage your audience and make them feel they have a voice.

    Follow-up with slow changes. One of the biggest problems with beta.slashdot is it is a complete redesign, and un-necessarily so. Don't change everythin

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:32PM (#46180773)

    But this doesn't actually concede anything, does it?

    Main points in this statement:

    1: One in four users are still being redirected to the new beta.

    2: The current Slashdot layout is still disappearing, to be replaced by the beta.

    3: The beta needs development.

    So what's so groundbreaking about this announcement? Where's the concession? I'm supposed to be happy about this, I suppose?

    This is the part that bothers me:

    We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience.

    So Dice wants the best of both worlds; the tech oriented, intelligent userbase contributions, and a wide audience to monetise those contributions to? It isn't going to work.

  • Specific Complains (Score:5, Informative)

    by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:32PM (#46180775)

    In honor of you posting recognition of today's complaints, I've posted this using the beta. Even if some consider it pro forma at this point, here are some specific complaints:
    1) "Oops! You do not appear to have javascript enabled. We're making progress in getting things working without JavaScript." Glad to hear it. No one should be "migrated" so long as javascript is mandatory.
    2) White space and wasted space. Enough have made detailed complaints about this, so I'll just register my chagrin. I will say this: the people who come to this site are used to, indeed prefer, a denser presentation of information. This includes the text editor, which is absurdly restrictive on the x-axis.
    3) Font size. Perhaps this falls under wasted space, but it's atrocious enough to deserve its own comment.
    4) Incomplete summaries. Waste less space and use as much of the old summary as "Classic". (I recognize the drop-down menu allows one to switch between "Standard", "Classic", and "Headlines", but this, again, requires javascript. What is more, Standard adds nothing. Changes shouldn't be made for the sake of changing something. A change should be an improvement.)
    5) Absurd margins on the right.
    6) Obnoxious or irrelevant photos. We're literate here. Many of us read books that go on for hundreds of pages without a picture. We don't need pictures added like some security blanked.
    7) Load more? The old system gave preference to higher modded comments but did not require that you filter for higher comments to see them. Of course when there are a great many comments, a load more button is useful. But such a button should not be obscuring high ranked comments within moments of an article being posted.

    8) I just found another as I went to "Preview Comment." Why does the p tag produce what looks like four lines of white space?
    9) Above all, all changes should be subjected to this test: Do they get in the way of the conversation? Do they make it harder to scan through the conversation, looking for interesting comments. If so, they are not improvements. They detract from the reason people come to Slashdot.
    The formatting matters are some of the most obvious and often discussed. They should also be the easiest to fix.

  • by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:32PM (#46180783) Homepage Journal

    Ok slashdot...I love y'all and I am always in favor of improving things...

    but look: making something "more accessible" to a "wider audience" to "share" absolutely does NOT mean dumbing down the UI, hiding menus, removing sidebars, and reducing content!

    thanks so much for what you do, I genuinely love /.

    but you *must* understand...****less complexity does not mean more accessible****

    people come to /. because it is not dumbed down and over-marketed to 'the average reader'!!!

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:37PM (#46180835)

    the beta site that houses Slashdot's future look.

    So this is how it is going to be

    we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready

    You will have this forced upon you at some point

    Some of you have suggested we're not listening; on the contrary, some of us are 'listening' pretty much full-time.

    and ignoring any suggestions because we are owned by Dice, and this is how they want it

    because we're a community and we want to take everyone with us.

    and advertise crap to you

    Why? We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience.

    and advertise crap to you

    And we want a platform where we can experiment with different views of both comments and stories.

    and sell your information, and advertise crap to you

    It's not an either/or. It's going to be both.

    So shut up and take it

    If we haven't communicated that well enough, consider this post a first step to fixing that.

    So Fuck You and thanks for all the Fish

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:41PM (#46180891)

    I really do appreciate that you and Soulskill did at least break the silence that up until now has been deafening, but really, the nature of your reply does not fill me with confidence, and with the replies I am reading by other users, it looks as if that feeling is well represented, and that I am not alone.

    I just want you to know that I am listening to you as well.

    With that in mind, I have some difficult questions for you.

    You say that you have been reading and contemplating our feedback. It is clear that you have been at least observing the fallout that has occured over the past few days here in the comments sections of some very promising and nice looking stories, as the quality of the community provided content dropped to levels that would make even /b/ look intelligent. Your colleague Soulskill even made some well received commentary recently, and we've eagerly awaited this public level of ice-breaking on the discussion. For this I, and clearly many others are greatful.

    However, since you claim to have been receiving valuable feedback about the beta experiment since at least 5 months ago, why is it that the nature of the beta has not radically changed to accommodate that feedback? Why did you allow this situation to come to a head like this, if you have been observing and seriously considering the feedback provided?

    I see in your announcement that you and slashmedia believe it is time for a change in the site's layout. What factors does slashmedia use to make these determinations, and why do you believe that a radical change instead of a refinement and polish of the current system is in order?

    Can you please elaborate on some of the design choices that slashmedia has taken in the beta, ans why they felt these were good decisions, and why they have apparently completely ignored 5 months of user feedback about the beta?

    I understand that nobody really profits from continuing the public protest, or from relentless, mindless trolling. That's why we need to have a real, and valuable discussion here about this, and why a show of good will about our feedback actually being considered, and how it is considered, in detail, is clearly needed for our community to resolve its differences with slashmedia's choices in performing its services as the community's host.

    I am sure it would mean a great deal to all of us if the dialog did not end here. We, as a community need answers to these questions if we are going to stay and continue to contribute to what makes slashdot great.

    I hate to say it, but ignoring us and leaving these kinds of questions unanswered is likely to be seen as a worse slap in the face than hearing only silence was. Please continue this dialog.

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