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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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  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cusco (717999) <brian DOT bixby AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:50PM (#46180085)

    Cue the flood of flame . . .

  • Patch Notes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4x0t (1245872) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:50PM (#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.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dosius (230542) <> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @07:52PM (#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, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:04PM (#46180341) Journal

    Indeed. What they're doing to Slashdot is so symptomatic of the way web developers work, and indeed the whole modern software industry works. There's no notion of evolutionary change, of fixing bugs, adding enhancements in a controlled manner but with an eye towards familiarity and ease of use.

    Why this need for a radical departure?

  • Re:Thanks I guess (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PapayaSF (721268) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:13PM (#46180525) Journal

    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

    Those are exactly the problems I care about. Mainly information density; I want to see the same amount of information on the screen as I did before. Or at least 75%. It's more like 25% right now. Anyway, I'm glad someone is paying attention.

    I agree. I am especially concerned with feature parity for viewing comments: I love the dual-doohickey slider that allows me to set comment visibility by rating, with the other comments shown as single lines. Great for modding.

    But I am puzzled why, in this age of CSS, Slashdot needs to replace the classic look with a new design. Why not different style sheets? Show classic, new, and even other layouts, with the click of a link, whatever people prefer. Produce a half-dozen user-selectable layouts and make everyone happy.

  • Feedback (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CyprusBlue113 (1294000) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:22PM (#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 raymorris (2726007) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:24PM (#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 [] /.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 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.

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:26PM (#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 failedlogic (627314) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:27PM (#46180697)

    I also don't care about the stories in and of themselves on Slashdot. I occasionally RTFM. Most of the time I read the comments. I like the moderation and I can easily adjust up or down depending on how much I want to read about a particular subject.

    The comments on this site are generally intelligent and have added greatly to my tech knowledge over the years. I'd also add I have a deeper respect for different types of people and people pursuing different careers as a result of reading their comments.

    I was on another web forum and just quit outright. With no moderation the comments on that site became a waste of time to read.

    I like the current Slashdot site. Please don't change it. Slashdot it perfect as is.

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

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:28PM (#46180709)

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

    Here it is again: []

  • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:44PM (#46180927)

    Since Slashdot is abandoning the Classic design and code, can Dice release the final version of Slashcode so it is free/libre? It would be entirely in the spirit of the "audience" here.

  • by faedle (114018) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:08PM (#46181187) Homepage Journal

    " 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. "

    Have you considered that those two points might be in conflict? That the precise reason for Slashdot's success might be that it speaks to the interests and habits of a fairly specific and narrow audience?

  • by pr0ntab (632466) <pr0ntab AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:10PM (#46181209) Journal
    You're really not getting it.

    The people who contribute to slashdot right now have very clear expectations. No slick bs on the front page, show whole summaries, UTF-8, high contrast, fluid layout, use my whole widescreen monitor, javascript optional, show all user info on comments, make the comment UI unimpeachable.

    These are the expectations of people that make Slashdot worth visiting _at all_. You've been told this many, many times since announcing the beta.

    These design goals may not meet the expectations of new or casual users of other sites or iphones. Well guess what? If you compromise the design of slashdot to cater to these people which add no value to the site then you alienate your core contributor. Users use slashdot for the community in spite of the perceived-backwardness of the boring older-style web UI and judging by active posters with high IDs who also complained they grow accustomed to it.

    All of the people that Slashdot Media loves to talk about here: [] Those 4000+ commenters a day that are the supposed value add to Slashdot?

    Kiss them goodbye.
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:14PM (#46181247) Journal

    Look, i'll be honest here, I'm not entirely against the new design. Here's all you have to do to win me over:

    1. That person who decided lines should be doublespaced? Their head, on a pike, to serve as a warning to others who think websites should look like a 3rd grader's book report.
    2. Get collapsed/abbreviated/full comments working again so the MyCleanPC troll doesn't take up 100000 screenfuls of realestate: []
    3. Do something to stop wasting the right side of the comments. Flow the comments around the sidebar. Pack the sidebar stuff up higher. I don't know, how the heck do comments fit below the sidebar now (I even have mod points and the modpoint sidebar), but can't with the gigantic picture and doublespaced text in the summary?

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archfeld (6757) * <> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:17PM (#46181275) Journal

    Agreed on the boycott, and on the why remove information comments made by several. I am not sure Slashdot has or was given a choice. DICE is a LOUSY company to deal with and everything they touch turn to feces. I've been hanging here for a long time and this is by FAR the worst change to come along and it ISN'T getting better but worse. Going be sad to go, but the whole point of ever being here was the community and the discussions which are both nearly impossible to use or participate in under the beta. Remember when this place was a task of love for a few editors and folks, well NOW it is a profit making endeavor and $MONEY$ is ALMIGHTY to DICE.
    Now on the stickler side, is it an EXODUS, or a DIASPORA ?

  • by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:21PM (#46181321) Homepage

    I'll ask the design team.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:31PM (#46181431)

    Hey, I am quite happy with my on Lynx, thank you very much!

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:54PM (#46181625) Homepage Journal


    So, it is tempting to resurrect now that Slashdot stinks worse than the last two times I shut down .

    If you remember, we didn't get very many readers. We didn't get them because not enough people submitted usable articles.

    As it happens, we don't just need a better Slashdot. We need a replacement for Groklaw. And I personally would be happier reading something with the absolute minimum of Javascript except perhaps in the submission editor. Maybe I'm old-fashioned.

    I know that I can do it technically, and I have the server, and Cloudflare should be able to help me handle the load. But if it is like last time, and my wife observes that I'm talking to the same dozen guys all of the time, it's not going to work.

    What do you think?

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:56PM (#46181641) Homepage Journal

    Well, those few needed tweaks never stop piling up. On top of that, UX research and (more importantly) user expectations continue to evolve.

    What research? Which users? "Users" aren't a monolithic group, you know. Slashdot attracts a very different crowd from, say,

    And "UX" is a stupid buzzword. When I go to a website--any website--I'm not looking for an "experience." I'm looking for something that loads quickly, renders readably, and provides the functionality I expect.

    To keep up with that, websites either need to constantly change in small increments, or to do it in big chunks.

    Or not change at all. That's an option. It really is.

    The classic design in 2014? Not too bad. The classic design in 2018? Probably not going to cut it.

    It's been "cutting it" for fifteen years, more or less; it's certainly changed some during that time, but it's still recognizably the same site. Why shouldn't it be good for (at least) another four?

    In another post, you wrote:

    For example, fire up the Wayback Machine and look at some popular sites from a decade ago. Many of them look radically different. Can you honestly say they wouldn't look out of place alongside modern sites? If you were browsing through modern news sites and you stumbled across this [], would it not give you pause? At some point, your website just looks old and unmaintained -- that's why virtually every major website updates their design.

    That BBC page isn't bad. Not great, but at least as good as the current one. And really, a decade ago was when the web was at its best. The browser wars were over, and it was reasonably easy to code a standards-compliant page that rendered well in the major browsers of the day. Sites offered all the functionality you expected, and still managed to load quickly even when a lot of people were still on dial-up (often faster than they do now over DSL and cable).

    And for the most part, they looked great! I was a regular Salon [] reader in those days; please don't try to tell me that the current crapflood [] looks better. Yahoo [] was still a useful web index in those days, as opposed to ... whatever it's supposed to be now. [] Google News [] was attractive, fast, well-organized and information-rich; it's still not bad [], but it's definitely not as useful as it once was. And you know, there was this really nifty technology news site [] that I absolutely loved; there's still something at that URL [], but it looks like the domain might have been hijacked or something.

  • Summary? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @10:06PM (#46181733)

    With all the "fuck beta" posts leading all the other comment sections, it was interesting to hear from various folks who provided constructive feedback in this post. From the "fuck beta" posts, I thought the problem was Microsoft shilling, user data collection, invasion of privacy, and a host of other matters that would antagonize the Slashdot base.

    It seems that the actual issues are more practical:
    - Comment section doesn't have most of the features
    - Javascript is a problem for some people

    It seems like both of these just require more coding time. For my two cents, the site has a little too much white space. I realize clean looks with lots of white space is the going design, but I think there's not the right balance currently and it makes the site difficult to take in. Slightly smaller font, slightly less line spacing. Everywhere. Make it tighter.

    The stories all seem normal enough: black holes, at least one Apple story a day, freedom of communication, etc etc. Users are correct in saying Slashdot is not a news site, it's a debate site. The most important content on the site are the comments. I feel that's just a matter of time.

    I also feel like no one is going to read my 6 page post which would only be half a page without the idea that someone is supposed to write with a red pen between above each line of my words. And after previewing, it looks like I have 10 line breaks between paragraphs...hopefully submission fixes that.

  • by tomp (4013) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:11PM (#46182275) Homepage

    I've been here a long time and didn't switch the last two times. I'll switch this time and will support in whatever way I can.

    Thank you!

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .retawriaf.> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:17PM (#46182327) Homepage

    I'm thinking this is the first time I've heard of

  • Re: Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by taiwanjohn (103839) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:38PM (#46182489)

    Change for the sake of change

    Exactly. A UI is not a ladies' fashion trend, it is a tool. How much as the "UI" for hammers and chisels changed in the last few thousand years?

  • by jet_silver (27654) on Friday February 07, 2014 @12:19AM (#46182727)

    Look: we're not "the audience", expecting to be amused or enlightened. We're slashdot. The point, which you seem to be missing, is slashdot is its contributors, who come here to interact.

    Every time I see the beta design I grope for the alternate link that gets me back to the perhaps-weird but familiar interface I like. That's what I expect. If you want to change it, fine, it's your site, but the contributors will go somewhere they prefer and it won't be here.

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bugler412 (2610815) on Friday February 07, 2014 @12:36AM (#46182835)
    There's no ad impressions when we are sitting on a single page scrolling through the comments, that's why they don't appear to care about the comments, even though that is what drives traffic to the site. IT"S NOT ABOUT THE ARTICLES it's about the quality of the discussions and the mod system. Toss that and we could replace you with any of a thousand tech blog sites. STOP IT!
  • by jfmiller (119037) on Friday February 07, 2014 @02:43AM (#46183449) Homepage Journal

    There was a time when Slashdot was my home page -- first thing I read when I turned on the internet. That time has long passed. I'm not sure whether I grew up or Slashdot grew down. In the end I think RSS feeds and the proliferation and maturation of other tech sites with original content like Ars Technica filled some of what Slashdot used to do for me. Much of the news here is 12 hours behind the top of my feed.

    I still come back often. It's not for the news like it was in the 90's but for the comments. When I want to know what's happening, I hit Google or Hacker News or Ars, but when I want to know what other people like me think about something, I wait for it to hit Slashdot's front page.

    To me it feels like DICE thinks the articles are the content. They're not. The content comes below the articles which are only there (IMHO) to spark a discussion. So my feedback: Take a few months and learn about the community that makes Slashdot work. It seems clear that you have not. Then work the redesign to fit the ethos of that community. You can mess up the front page all you want to try to get new audience, but take a second or third look at everything below the article when you try this again in Fall of 2014.

    Slashdot: News for Nerds, Stuff that matters

  • Re: Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday February 07, 2014 @04:44AM (#46183851) Journal

    A UI is not a ladies' fashion trend, it is a tool.

    It's a men's fasion trend instead?

    How much as the "UI" for hammers and chisels changed in the last few thousand years?

    The hammer quite a bit. The modern hammers with sprung steel heads, claws (and other attachments) and ergonomic handles especially those designed to mitigate RSI have in fact changed significantly.

    Anyway, interface changes to tools aren't bad if they're for the better. I've not had to suffer slashdot 3.0, but I have little trouble doubting that it's terrible on the grounds that most change for the sake of it is. Frankly 2.0 sucked as well. I'm still on the old faschined static interface with no javascript and I like it.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday February 07, 2014 @04:45AM (#46183853) Journal

    I don't code and I don't study user interface design, so I'm not qualified to offer reasons why the beta is bad. I'm just a user.

    On the contrary, the user is the most qualified person to comment on the useability of the service, the more exposure the user has had to competing services (including prior versions) the more valuable their opinion is. Disclaimer: I code for a living and formally studied UI design at tertiary level some 20 odd years ago. In my professional opinion BETA SUCKS! (like many other "professionals" who lurk around here, I gave my helpful comments in the original survey)

    There's also the historical perspective, today we still have one of the 12 colossus computers built during WW2, but only because Churchill's order to destroy them was not fully carried out. Slashdot is a significant part of internet history, if they are going to significantly alter that then at least donate the existing site and comment archive to someone who would care for it (eg: Smithsonian, national archives, etc)

    I don't think yelling abuse is going to change the world and nobody enjoys being threatened but having said that dice would be wise to withdraw the beta and explain what the problem is with the existing site. If there really is a serious financial or technical problem for dice then perhaps the expertise in the Slashdot user base could help solve it.

    As an example of that historical notability I cite the restoration of the Betchley park, Slashdot and its users were IMO instrumental of raising awareness (and cash) to highlight the shabby treatment of the site by authorities. The same people who posted the initial Slashdot story about the disgraceful neglect were also responsible for the campaign to formerly pardon Alan Turing. The gay community have welcomed the official pardon and are now demanding an official pardon for the thousands of other homosexuals who were chemically castrated. They may get it too, with the publicity surrounding Turing's pardon the UK has suddenly found new pride in their pioneering contribution to the computer industry and a clear recognition that attitudes towards homosexuals have changed (at least in the UK).

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 07, 2014 @07:14AM (#46184475)

    Pretty much this.

    I've frequented a lot of "information" (I'll use the term loosely here) pages in the past. A few, I don't frequent anymore. Some required my real name to allow me to comment. Some even had the audacity to require me to open up a Facebook account. These changes certainly didn't sit well with me and made me leave the pages.

    For those that might wonder (I'm talking to you, /. management), people don't come here for news. C'mon. Your news are dated at best and with a hint of luck repeated from last year. If I looked here for new information I'd be better off with the internet archives. What makes the page special is that people can discuss those topics here in a way that has become virtually nonexistent anywhere else on the internet: Uncensored. That's where the appeal of this page has been in these years past. The management might not be happy with some of the comments, but they stood. IIRC the only ones that ever got them to pull a comment was a certain sue-happy sect of loonies because /. felt it simply wasn't worth the hassle to fight with loonies over the copyright to their imaginary friend. And, bluntly, it ain't. Doing so would have given them much more spotlight than their inane cult deserves.

    What we basically got out of /. was usenet with a topic, way less spam and way more topical, informational and insightful comments. That's what made /. interesting. I do hope you don't think it was the stories. You're mostly a story aggregator, and it's very unlikely someone with at least a passing interest in a topic hasn't read it elsewhere before it appeared here.

    What /. offered in this respect was to be able to discuss that topic with people from all walks of life. You could get the (private) opinion of a lawyer on a matter that he would probably not have read because it's a field he doesn't really have a vested interest in. THAT is what's interesting about /.

    It's certainly not the stories. It's the comments section. When you drive the interesting people away, what's left is a page with dated news and spam about overpriced, inefficient PC cleaning software.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 07, 2014 @07:33AM (#46184557)

    What makes them worse than useless is simply that they are not used as an addition but as a replacement since "everyone's going mobile these days". Possibly everyone has a mobile device, but I sure as hell don't want to browse a page "optimized for mobile" on a desktop computer. It's about as bad as using a mobile OS on a desktop computer.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Packgrog (47040) on Friday February 07, 2014 @09:37AM (#46185147)

    You nailed it exactly. I've never been much of a commenter, but reading the comments from people who are generally well educated (unlike the majority of sites these days) is what has always appealed to me and kept me visiting since the 90's. Most of the articles posted here have been old news to me, but the presentation, and density of information, have been an oasis in the increasing noise.

    The beta site seems to be catering hard to the kind of people that have driven me away from other sites and back to this one. It looks like a half-assed version of one of the more recent Engadget designs. I bailed on sites like that when they ditched utility and information density in favor of... I have no idea. These redesigns offer nothing of value for showing information in a coherent manner. There does not seem to be ANYTHING about the beta that is conducive to maintaining the utility of the existing site. People come to this site because of ho it is DIFFERENT from other sites. Making this site more like those other sites completely annihilates this site's value.

    I get that they don't want to throw away a lot of hard work that must have been put into the beta, but I have to ask: Why? What are their goals that spawned the redesign? Do they just want to make something new, or is there an actual problem that they are trying to address? Are there frustrations with the infrastructure that they are trying to address (potentially valid, but they seem to be going about it the wrong way)? Do they simply want to expand readership? If that's the case, make a SEPARATE site. I do not think that ANY of the readers here will play well with people who find anything about the beta appealing. This site works for a specific demographic. If they want to make a new site, then make a DIFFERENT site, and leave Slashdot as it is.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <> on Friday February 07, 2014 @09:43AM (#46185197) Homepage Journal

    I know the comment section is what it's all about, but seriously though, you are given a channel to provide your feedback. no need to go postal on them.

    We are being given a blow-off valve, to vent our discontent harmlessly off into /dev/null.

    In this, we are not dissimilar from most people nowadays, whose frustrations are constantly muffled with mendacious PR-releases and other goose-speak, our tomentors assurring us of their concerns and sympathies, and giving loose promises of future actions addressing our concerns.

    Nothing ever comes of it; and the beasts gnaw on, crocodile tears glistening.

  • by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Friday February 07, 2014 @11:20AM (#46186143) Homepage

    I'm afraid I can't answer all of your questions, as I'm not part of the team who decided on the redesign.

    What I can tell you is that website designs need to continue updating. Slashdot has seen a few redesigns over the years, most recently in 2011 []. I get that it's really jarring to have it all change at once, rather than incrementally. The thing with minor tweaks and the occasional new feature is that the need for those things never ends -- it's a treadmill.

    Keeping up on the treadmill is what some sites choose to do, and it's perfectly valid -- but you also lose the opportunity to make significant changes, and eventually your site just looks old and ill-maintained. This redesign is an attempt to catch up and keep the site current -- not just for now, but for several years from now.

    It's not a re-targeting -- we don't want different demographics. But we also don't want to turn off new users in our existing demographic.

  • Re: Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Immerman (2627577) on Friday February 07, 2014 @01:37PM (#46187569)

    And Unicode support!
    Maybe some subtle color-coding of the nested-comment boxes to make divergent conversations easier to follow.
    Maybe even a "jump to parent"/"return" button pair wen you want to go back and double-check something in a particularly prolific parent post (especially nice if it would retrieve comments down-modded to oblivion to provide the context that inspired a particularly worthy reply)

    I can think of lots of tweaks that would add a world of functionality to the comments, if they actually want to do so.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigpat (158134) on Friday February 07, 2014 @05:34PM (#46189945)

    What makes the page special is that people can discuss those topics here in a way that has become virtually nonexistent anywhere else on the internet: Uncensored.

    Nope have to disagree with you there... The built in peer rating system is the key difference between Slashdot and other discussion platforms and not any perceived lack of centralized censorship or editing. Most discussion boards or comment sections are pretty flat showing you everything that has not been censored for whatever reason and the rating system pretty much a useless add-on because it is just a star or some piece of meta data that is available, but that meta data doesn't impact what you see and read very much. But the censorship on other discussion boards usually affects just the extreme comments like one would get modded down on Slashdot anyway.

    Slashdot has a simple yet refined rating system with mod points being given to people that get modded up more frequently. It works. Good comments percolate to the front because they get expanded by default, but you can change your view of the comments threads easily if you want to see everything. Yet you only get mod points when you have contributed enough content that other moderators value. That peer moderation system is the heart of Slashdot and has been replicated very poorly by other websites or discussion platforms like disqus.

    If anything I wish Slashdot's moderation system had more imitators among news website discussion boards or if disqus adopted a more slasdhot like interface for displaying and peer moderating discussion threads. Having taken a stab over a few weekends in the way way back at setting up a news website using an older version of the open source slashcode I can say with some experience that the lack of more imitators was probably because it was written in Perl by someone far too skilled at Perl for anyone else's good.

    So far I don't have much opinion of the beta either way. Looks a bit slicker, so that is good. But I also assume that they will end up adding back in some of the ui features that make the discussion threads possible to follow a bit better.

    Given it is being driven by the same database structure I doubt the ui changes are going to end up being that functionally different once features are added back in.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling