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On Slashdot Video, We Hear You Loud and Clear 263

You complained; we heard you. We're making some adjustments to our ongoing experiment with video on Slashdot, and are trying to get it right. Some of the videos just haven't gelled, to put it lightly, and we know it. We're feeling out just what kinds of videos make sense here: it's a steep learning curve. So far, though, besides a few videos that nearly everyone hated, we've also seen some wacky, impressive, fun technology, and we're going to keep bringing more of it, but in what we intend to be smarter doses, here on the Slashdot home page. (A larger selection will be available on tv.slashdot.org.) We're also planning to start finding and documenting some creative means of destruction for naughty hardware; suggestions welcome. We have also heard you when it comes to improving the core Slashdot site experience and fixing bugs on site. We're working on these items, too. As always, suggestions are welcome, too, for other things worth getting on camera or publishing on Slashdot.
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On Slashdot Video, We Hear You Loud and Clear

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  • Too late! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:26PM (#39588723)
    No saving slashtv. Just add a checkbox for it under the "exclusions" tab and call it a day.
    • Exactly. If they were truly listening they would have had this already.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:43PM (#39589839)

      Here's what people want:

      Interviews with compelling engineers or other intelligent and worthwhile notables or pieces on compelling and interesting topics and technologies. Though, I don't know why that has to be done in video.

      Here's what people do NOT want:

      Advertising, masquerading as "programming". We're not stupid and we KNOW that YOU KNOW you are providing an advertising service when your video is:

      * Some lawyer type guy with no seeming background or history as per google searches to justify his claim that he's some sort of expert... who happens to be doing the video out of his office in a strip mall.

      * Anyone who is a non-technical CEO.
      * Anyone who is in marketing.
      * Anyone whose title (like yesterday) is "PR".

      Frankly, I find what has already been done to be offensive enough that I don't plan on being here much anymore. I've been with Slashdot since it was Chips & Dips and have made thousands of posts and spend hundreds or thousands of hours here. Visisting -- for the most part -- dozens of times per day.

      In the last couple years, that has slowed. And since taco left and you guys started with the blatant advertising, I almost never even remember to come back (and when I have, I've seen these "slashdtv" things that are poorly veiled advertising.

      I probably won't be here even once a week, going forward. If you really want to turn into Engadget or Gizmodo, then go for it. I don't care. It's sad to see what Slashdot is turning into and there aren't many other places around like it... but I can find another home for tech professionals and geeks to discuss things.

      • Though, I don't know why that has to be done in video.

        Exactly. I read so much faster than people speak. I hate having to listen to podcasts or watch videos for something that's just as easily - and up to around five times as efficiently - done via text. Some things need pictures or video, sure - but not interviews, ffs.

  • by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:29PM (#39588767)

    I'd like you to be honest with ads. I don't particularly have a problem with ads, but I think you could be more transparent when a story has been paid for. I really don't see any good reason to try to pretend that a story is organic when it isn't.

    • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:32PM (#39588811)

      I'd go further, though.

      Tag all the "slashvertisements" as such and allow them to be blocked.

    • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:40PM (#39588905)

      Believe it or not (and many won't), none of the videos were paid for. The thought process behind most of them has been somebody saying, "Hey, I know so-and-so at [X tech company], let's make a video about it," or "Let's send timothy to such-and-such convention."

      But we understand it's hard to tell that when it's just a video about some company you may or may not have heard of. Now, is the solution to never reference any particular company in a video? People have been accusing us of slashvertising for years -- it generally just makes us chuckle, since it's so far removed from reality. If some random company -- or some person who happens to work for a company -- is doing something legitimately cool, would you want to hear about it? What about reviews? (Serious question -- a lot of people get angry when we review something, assuming it's an endorsement. Really, we're just tech nerds who like playing with new gadgets/reading new books/playing new games.)

      In the meantime, we're going to try to get some science/maker videos into the mix and see how those go.

      • by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:47PM (#39588991)

        If some random company -- or some person who happens to work for a company -- is doing something legitimately cool, would you want to hear about it?

        Then why not cover several companies doing similar technologies in the the same video? That would go along way toward making it seem less like an ad.

        And it really doesnt matter if it's paid or not, the coverage benefits both slashdot and the company being spotlighted.
        Though OTOH, judging by the recent backlash, maybe the opposite is true.

      • by BigT ( 70780 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:48PM (#39589015)

        If you didn't get paid for that Plantronics video, you got ripped off. If we're going from a company about their products, we want to hear from techies about the inner workings of the products. Not from a PR/Marketing flack about how their "products make our lives easier". That's pretty much the definition of an ad, not news for nerds.

        • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

          Well, I guess we got ripped off, then. As far as the inner workings of the products, would you rather see/hear about the science and engineering that went into design, or something simply explains that product (i.e. this is part X and it does Y)?

          • by NighthawkFoo ( 16928 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:12PM (#39589349)

            Deep geeky stuff please. This is News for Nerds. If you can't get into details here, then where can you?

            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @04:13PM (#39590289)

              Since we can't rate posts higher than +5, I'm going to post another one backing it up just so it can also get a +5 (anonymously to avoid being accused of trolling for karma). You can read that as a +10.

              When showing cool, new tech, think Nova, not Extreme Machines. Science, not gadget porn.

            • by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:37PM (#39594331)

              I am always grateful to read comments written by experts in the /. community who are directly involved in the work a post is talking about, or who can provide informed insight into a field different from my own. That is, when reading a post about, say, the mars robots and someone who works for JPL chimes in, it makes me feel grateful to be part of a community where that can happen.

              So my suggestion is to approach those community members to do interviews or to comment on geek current events and cultivate them the way that news organizations cultivate experts to provide perspective on issues (but do it in a genuine geek way, not empty-headed fluff faux-journalist way). I know I would benefit from that, and the experts might as well because it will raise their professional profiles and might help their careers. It also bolsters the /. community by adding in a bit of aspirational value to its members: craft intelligent, insightful (or even funny) posts here and it might lead to other good things.

          • I'd genuinely say there's a place for both. I think the more general stuff should go into tv, or such - but the "science and engineering" level is what should end up in specific categories?

            This is certainly going to need playing around to find the happy balance... but the PR "fluff" like that Plantronics disaster certainly doesn't fit.

          • by Spykk ( 823586 )
            I don't think video is the proper medium for that kind of content. Candid information from an engineer on an interesting project can be interesting, but slashdot already has a mechanism for relating that kind of information. I understand that there are monetary reasons for pushing video on slashdot, but you would be better served with videos of the interior of data centers or production facilities than you would be with someone talking at a camera.
          • by MattskEE ( 925706 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @04:10PM (#39590227)

            We're interested in anything geeky and technical (at least I am), but you can't squeeze blood from a turnip, or at least not much. So you can talk about products that have new features as long as the features are actually interesting and new. Or you can talk about the features from a technical standpoint, showing what the features really mean, what's important, and what's physically achievable, instead of just rattling off specs like a Best Buy salesman who doesn't understand the product or the specifications.

            Taking the Plantronics video as an example, there isn't a whole lot of interesting stuff going on there because they're just making very run of the mill consumer/business products. You could try and squeeze out something good talking about the wireless interface design, or frequency response, noise floor, and distortion in the audio quality, or what makes one headset ergonomic and another uncomfortable, or whether bacteria really grow faster in your ears when you're wearing headphones, just to name a few ideas. But by going with Plantronics you're limiting your options, because their products are fairly boring.

            If you want to do a video about computer interface devices you'll have an easier time if you pick something that's already geeky, maybe gaming mice. Then you can get a company that really cares about its products who will tell you about the ergonomics and how their latency and movement accuracy is better than another company's, and they'll have numbers to back it up, and maybe talk a bit about how they accomplished those things. Or talk to monitor manufacturers about new display technologies like OLEDs and 3D, just make sure not to get caught up in marketing-speak. Even better if you could get a monitor manufacturer to HONESTLY discuss monitor specifications like why the contrast ratios are generally BS, how accurate the colors are and how to color calibrate your monitor, and what to look for if you're buying a monitor for watching videos or gaming.

            You could also delve into wireless standards, look at all of the different technologies that carriers are calling 4G and what the actual performance of each is and whether it really deserves to be called 4G. Keep an eye on new ultra high speed wireless technologies like Intel WiDi or anything else operating in the 57-64GHz ISM band.

            Of course this is just a few of my thoughts about what kinds of information about products are interesting, not about whether it makes a good video. I'm generally not a fan of videos versus static content unless the videos are really well done, or unless you're taking advantage of videos to show something that can't easily be presented in a static page. A big part of that is that videos generally take longer to watch and have less information.

          • by morethanapapercert ( 749527 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:45PM (#39591567) Homepage
            Speaking only for myself, the only time I ever want to hear Product X does Y is when it is some unique and new gadget. If it's been around for awhile, or has competitors, I don't want anything like that. No; not even comparative reviews of Product X versus it's competitors A, B and C. I get enough of that elsewhere thank you. The Plantronics video is an a, pure and simple. Maybe /. didn't get paid, but it is exactly the kind of useless puff piece I hate. Many of us here have the engineering mindset, being exposed to a sales pitch in any media is usually boring at best, possibly torturous at worst. For a shallow piece, I want to know the product specs and I'm quite comfortable with a plain, unadorned table of raw numbers. For a more in depth piece, I want to know how it was made, what new principles or problems the engineers dealt with to make it. (examples below)

            1) Current hard drives are using perpendicular magnetic domains, something I think Samsung was the key researcher in developing. All the major major hard drive companies are doing it now, so it really isn't a trade secret. Get me an interview with the engineering team that figured out how to lay down the media on the disk substrate in such a way to create those perpendicular domains.

            2) Interview the guy who runs the computer system(s) at some observatory. Palomar, Mauna Kea, W.R. Keck, some place like that. I want to know how he got the job, how much data a typical nights viewing produces, how many Universities get that data, what about his job *he* thinks is cool, that sort of thing. 3) I hear James Cameron is sponsoring a dive to some new record depths. Don't do a piece on him! Do a piece on the submarine he and his team will be using, For the tour guide, use the guy who built it, someone who drives it. Pretty much anyone directly involved, knows what they are talking about, but are not someone who would usually appear on camera in some run-of-the-mill documentary.

            4) if you cover a gathering, convention or conference, at the end include links to the people and organizations involved.

            5) For that matter, maybe /. can do a table at a con or sponsor a con. (It'd be great to see /. sponsoring some Maker Faires or RapFab meets)

            6) I'd like to see a video tour of the facilities well known websites are hosted at.

            7) Once you have arranged to record some video with someone or somewhere, do what you do with the text based interviews. Ask us what parts we want to see, what questions we might like to ask. Use our input to help shape the direction and depth of the piece.

            Frankly, when it comes to consumer products, all I really care about it the kind of stuff the PR, Marketing and Legal departments probably don't want me to see.

        • by atriusofbricia ( 686672 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @04:05PM (#39590155) Journal

          If you didn't get paid for that Plantronics video, you got ripped off. If we're going from a company about their products, we want to hear from techies about the inner workings of the products. Not from a PR/Marketing flack about how their "products make our lives easier". That's pretty much the definition of an ad, not news for nerds.

          This, this right here. If a video/"story" reads like an advertisement, then it is going to be interpreted as one no matter what. The Plantronics one is a perfect example of that. "Here, look at this thing that will make your life easier and this is why! Also, buy from us!"

          If one saw that anywhere else, what would one think it was? A deeply thoughtful article, or a paid-to-place advertisement? Right or wrong, the impression is buried deeply, no?

      • by LMacG ( 118321 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:51PM (#39589051) Journal

        How could anybody have looked at the Plantronics video and NOT thought it would come across as an advertisement? Paid or not, there was nothing in there but promotion.

        I'd have thought the days or "hey, I just got a video camera, I'm going to shoot videos of everything that crosses my path" would have come and gone in the late 20th century.

        Slashdot TV is not a hammer, and everything you see in the viewfinder is not a nail.

      • by Sepultura ( 150245 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:54PM (#39589083)

        If you're going to do reviews, follow the example of sites like Anandtech and review the fucking product!. Give specifics, detailed data that's more than we can get off of the product website or box. And include the positives and negatives.

        So far, all the "reviews" I've seen have been saccharinely positive, even when the product has obvious issues that are evident even to those with the most basic familiarity with the technology. And most read like they've been written by professional P.R. writers. So do you really not understand how readers would view these as paid-for ads?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What? Seriously? The Plantronics ad wasn't paid for? This is lying or gross incompetence. I don't know which one is worse.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        I would believe that if the slasvertisment was balanced. For example the silly drug smuggler Scott-e-vest hoodie video was not a review at all. Timothy took it out of a box and stffed things in it for the 40 seconds he wore it.

        Use the thing for at LEAST a week or two. show us how it falls apart, or how all the pockets sag after a few days, etc. Real reviews and not PR regurgitation.

        • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

          The hoodie in particular was something that demonstrated to us the difference between how an idea is conceived versus how it is perceived. Timothy thought it'd make for a quick, silly, completely non-serious video. But our presentation of the video didn't make that clear, and people hated it.

          Anyway, lesson learned -- you won't be seeing anything like that hoodie video again.

      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 )

        People have been accusing us of slashvertising for years -- it generally just makes us chuckle

        "Plantronics Helps Make Remote Workers' Lives Easier". There isn't a single thing about this that doesn't scream "corporate PR". Right from the company name first word in the title.

        If you really imagined you were doing a news story, you failed. And you say you didn't get paid for whoring out your reputation, and exploiting your readers? That's sad.

        lot of people get angry when we review something, assuming it's an endorsement

        Not if the review is really a review. Slashdot editors seem to take the cut-and-paste approach rather than fact checking. Or even spell checking.

      • It's not about the reference to a company, but to how the content is delivered. If company X is doing something cool, then it's fine to give them credit for it. What's NOT cool is to make the news article into a PR spiel about how recommending a specific product or brand. The article needs to capture that product X does this nifty thing, technical details, what other people are doing with it, and other nerdy stuff. Although this is a news site, we're not looking for a carefully worded hype articles, but

      • Believe it or not (and many won't), none of the videos were paid for.

        Why wouldn't anyone believe that? Just because they seem to focus less on the tech and more on the commercial product of a specific company?

        People have been accusing us of slashvertising for years -- it generally just makes us chuckle, since it's so far removed from reality.

        See? If we laugh then it means that you were wrong. Because otherwise we wouldn't laugh, would we?

        If some random company -- or some person who happens to work for a com

      • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:06PM (#39589275) Journal

        I'm guessing that anyone on Slashdot's staff who isn't totally out of touch with reality would be able to go back and take a look at that Plantronics video and say "yes, I can see how someone might come away with the impression it's a purchased spot".

        People have been accusing us of slashvertising for years -- it generally just makes us chuckle, since it's so far removed from reality.

        Rather than being condescending, how about taking a step back and saying, "gee, maybe there's a point here, even if it's based on a false premise"?

        If some random company -- or some person who happens to work for a company -- is doing something legitimately cool, would you want to hear about it?

        Well, yes. No question. Occasionally, that still happens within these hallowed pages. Not as often as it used to, but it does come across.

        But that Plantronics video? I'm having a very difficult time seeing how that qualifies as legitimately cool, new, ground breaking, innovative, or, well, anything that could fairly be described as "news for nerds, stuff that matters". The summary describes the interviewee as a Plantronics PR person. Heck, read the transcript [slashdot.org] - can you seriously say there's anything of substance there? That one is just lame.

      • by Elbereth ( 58257 )

        When you review something, do you have it provided for free, by the manufacturer? If so, do you give it back, when you're done reviewing it? Or do you keep it? These are very important questions.

        Many, many sites on the internet engage in highly questionable ethical practices, and it's only natural that people have become overly cynical. Back in the old days of Infoworld and PC Magazine, the reviewers were nothing more than industry shills who awarded every single product a 9/10 (if it crashed constantly

      • by porksauce ( 1302059 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:42PM (#39589805)
        The problem with the Plantronics video is there was no news, no interesting thought-provoking topic to discuss or debate. And no obvious warning that would be the case beforehand. With your text articles, usually there's something new and interesting or it doesn't get posted. Maybe if you had the same selection process from many submitted videos and were picking only the best ones, applying the same criteria which should basically be: "Are our readers going to find this interesting?" Maybe you're trying too hard to post videos so you're not being choosy enough about what gets posted?

        It is surprising that you weren't paid for the Plantronics video, because why else would you do it?

        Here are some video suggestions:
        1. Interview Darl McBride and ask him what his deal is.
        2. Interview rms on any number of subjects.
        3. When a version of Unity or Gnome shell comes out, do a quick video demo of it followed by comments from someone on the dev team explaining the rationale, and also someone who hates it venting about how much it sucks.
        4. Interview former senator Dodd about the future of copyright
        5. Interview some scientists about the Higgs boson.
        6. Interview Sergei Brin about privacy.
        7. Robots fighting.
        8. Bruce Schneier about TSA

        I think you have a strong enough readership of an influential community to get those folks to talk to you. Do a bunch of them and don't post the ones that suck. I bet the Google people read this site and would like the opportunity to talk about privacy.

        Actually, thinking about it, you could stage debates and make it a very big deal. Like invite people from Canonical, GNOME team, and some XFCE zealots to fight it out. That sort of stuff video is great because there's a lot of passion and controversy. And I'm sure people here would give you lots of other great ideas for topics if you did a poll.

        Another idea is to run a contest for best video on a specific topic. Like the next time the old question of how best to destroy old drives comes up, give away a prize to the best video submitted and then post it.

        Anyway, have fun. And worst case if you find yourself posting another video like the Plantronics one, please ask them for at least a little money so it makes more sense.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:44PM (#39588941) Homepage

      This. I've been irritated by the idiotic and poorly disguised 'slashvertisements' to the point of possibly not coming back.

    • Ads are fine when labeled. What I'd really like is product reviews and/or advertisements to learn what other slashdoterers think and recommend. That seems like a way Slashdot could collect money from vendors, and be interesting to readers.

    • Totally agreed. Geeks don't like to feel they're having adverts slipped under their noses and usually react badly. I certainly do, Slashdot has losing credibility in my eyes due to the number of (what appear to me to be) thinly veiled adverts.

      The video idea isn't an instant turn-off, but I'd rather it was in keeping with the original ethos of the site - allow people to submit thier own videos (or link to others) and let the mod process promote/delete them, that's what it's there for. Saves the /. staffe
  • Ooyala Player? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by milbournosphere ( 1273186 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:29PM (#39588769)
    Since this is /., and since there was a recent news bit about Adobe releasing its last version of Flash for Linux, could you please dump the one-off flash player and switch to something supported by HTML5? Also, I'd rather not have to deal with a noScript shit-fit in order to watch these "amazing" videos.
    • Serious +1. Slashdot wins over few geeks by releasing new features using obsolete technology. I've been ignoring these videos because they're not available as HTML/5 Ogg or WebM.

    • Don't worry, I've been pushing for it and AFAIK someone somewhere is maybe sort of hopefully looking into it... right now I can't even see the videos since Flash blows on 64-bit GNU. And it's evil (sorry, running a huge proprietary app that has had a storied history of remotely exploitable security vulnerabilities is not something I'm comfortable with).

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:31PM (#39588795)

    No interest in the videos; would rather read about technology vs. watching it.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:42PM (#39588931) Homepage Journal

      Agreed, unless there is some demonstration, like this. [youtube.com] talking heads are for illiterates.

    • by Necron69 ( 35644 )

      Seconded. I want to READ stories on Slashdot. I do not want to watch another damn video, and I fail to understand why everyone seems to want to turn the entire Internet into TV 2.0 or something. Watching a video takes vastly more of my time than reading an interesting article about something, plus the intelligence level of most online video is way lower.

      - Necron69

      • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:54PM (#39589081) Homepage Journal

        I've suggested to The Honchos that all videos on Slashdot should have a "video" topic marker, so that those who don't want to watch any videos, period, will be able to completely ignore them.

        • Then why not make sure they go into tv.slashdot.org and stay there? It's essentially the same thing, and now that the infrastructure is there, use it.

          Also, I apologize for my rather terse and harsh email.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Desler ( 1608317 )

          You could also suggest transcripts because even if the content is interesting we may not want to spend 2-3x longer hearing it rather than reading it.

      • This is one of the sneakier tricks emerging.

        Done right it's cool, but apparently Slashdot's first videos have struggled a little.

        The news types like it because the "content" is almost un-copyable as is; it's like Talking Head DRM. It also traps the viewer who can't use any active reading skills on it.

        Meanwhile on Chessbase the new hotness is chess videos. While I haven't bought one, if it didn't come with additional actual raw games & annotations, then the video itself for some $60 would be a total rip-

    • This is such a common theme, I had to comment.
      Does your preference of text over multimedia mean that EVERY other person on /. has that same preference? I think emphatically not.

      Just because you prefer it some way, please don't expect that to be "the way it is."
      • by asylumx ( 881307 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:51PM (#39589049)
        They asked for feedback, and the GP gave it. Why do you have such a problem with that?
      • Mr. Sherlock:

        No shit. ;-)

        I don't like videos for the reason another person said --- takes longer than just skimming the text. Also I don't have a fast internet connection, and I'm typically downloading movies/TV shows in the background, so I don't want the overhead of a streaming video slowing things down.

        Another thing I don't like is the URL games.slashdot.org. Why? Because my workplace blocks it. (I suspect the same sad fact is true for many of /.'s readers.) Changing it to something else would b

  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:32PM (#39588809)

    1) Don't post advertisements. Or, if you're going to, at least say they are outright. Don't try to disguise it as a story. This isn't Huffpost or Fox News, most of your readership actually has a pretty large amount of still-functioning brain cells. We can tell when you're bullshitting us.

    2) I joined Slashdot... hoo, 5 years ago. Maybe longer. How is it that Slashdot actually runs slower now? Doesn't anyone consider efficiency in coding as being important anymore?

    3) Add proper UTF-8 support. Add support for loads of characters. What if I want to type in Japanese or use symbols? And on that note, remove the "junk characters" filter. ASCII art is a part of Slashdot's history. Sure, people used it to make goatse, but by that same logic why not remove hyperlinking since people still link to it today? The trolls will be modded down as always. Let us have some opportunity for creativity again.

    4) Lastly, take a look at your functionality. When a *free* forum suite like PHPBB - hell, when free shit like *Wordpress* has more functionality in their comment system, something is very wrong. You're a tech site. If anything you should be on the forefront on this kind of shit, not lagging behind.

    • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:36PM (#39588857) Journal
      Ascii art is not conversation, its mostly used to troll and annoy. We can remove it without removing the bulk of discussions, thats why its not allowed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by msobkow ( 48369 )

      UTF-8? For what?

      ENGLISH is the language of computer technologists around the world, even overseas. I have yet to meet a developer that doesn't speak English, despite working with HUNDREDS of people from overseas. Maybe it's a job requirement, but if so, I'm ok with that -- it's not prejudice driving the use of English, but the need for a common language of technology.

      • by ledow ( 319597 )

        Fine. Now do a Euro symbol in ASCII. So it's not actually ASCII. It's not HTML either, even if that has symbols for a lot of other things and has to be parsed to be safe. So UTF-8, especially seeing as it opens up EVERY OTHER LANGUAGE too, and lots of weird and useful mathematical symbols, is the best and easiest option to support.

    • 3) Add proper UTF-8 support

      Agreed, but add it carefully. If you need to ask why, go look at The Daily WTF's tag cloud [thedailywtf.com]. Once you get over trying to figure out what the first two are, keep reading until you get to the upside-down and backwards ones.

  • by qubezz ( 520511 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:35PM (#39588837)

    Many websites have started steering people to video versions of news stories. This is quite irritating, because the video content is mostly irrelevant b-roll footage, and the narrator ploddingly reads two paragraphs in three minutes. Three minutes for a news story that I could have read and comprehended in 10 seconds.

    Unless there are mentos and soda, video is not needed.

    • To add to the above: And I may not be in a position to watch a video at the time I find the article, even if I had the time to do so.

      I am aware that some people prefer talking heads. I have no problem with that. But if you don't provide at the very least a transcription as well, I will usually be heading elsewhere before I click 'play'.

    • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

      We're open to suggestions, particularly of the mentos-and-soda types. And we've got some more visually-appealing ideas in the pipeline. There's been talk of breaking stuff with lasers.

      • If people want "visually-appealing", they already can find plenty of that on YouTube...

        "mentos and coke" About 18,500 results
        "lasers burning stuff" About 909 results

        And zillions of other related science related video can be easily found there. The Slashdot "TV" section, in its current incarnation, seems redundant to many visitors.

        • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

          Yeah, we definitely appreciate that there are a number of people who just don't want to watch video on Slashdot. What we'd like is to keep producing video content (a small amount, always vastly outnumbered by the normal content),without actively offending those readers.

      • Transcripts. Transcripts transcripts transcripts.

        A good chunk of us are not going to watch a video, but including a transcript with the video (even behind a link) will help get a lot more eyes on it without a WHOLE lot of extra bother.

    • This. I wish you luck but I doubt I will ever watch a video on Slashdot.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Traditionally computers were programmed with text, and so many computer people tend to be text based. Text can be much more efficient than video or audio recording at communicating information. One can skim and quickly tell if something is interesting or not interesting. Video and audio is entertainment and tends to help keep people on a page, but is that the issue? Keeping people on /., or interesting stuff. Is it better to have people mindless watching moving pictures or writing and interacting?

      I c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:36PM (#39588855)

    Thanks for always thinking of improving your service and not charging a penny.


    • I enjoyed the Diablo Three beta videos yesterday.

      Good job, Slashdot.

    • Hear, hear.

      It's easy to knock Slashdot but we all still love it really. Even the few haters that may reply to this negatively, secretly love it. C'mon, admit it! ;)

      As long as you keep on doing what you do best, we'll all be here to follow and comment. Even if we moan, it's just because we care.

  • Please, offer the videos on YouTube and offer up the YouTube link. Or Vimeo.

    YouTube has support on practically everything networked, while both sites offer both HTML5 and Flash support (and work well on iOS).

    These sites also have embed that works and do allow saving videos for later viewing.

  • Transcripts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eternaldoctorwho ( 2563923 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:43PM (#39588935)

    Someone else already (albeit rudely) suggested the idea of allowing for excluding SlashdotTV items from the main page. I am all for new content and features, but be sure to make them opt-in. That way, everyone can have what they want.

    That said, I will repeat a previous suggestion when SlashdotTV launched. Please include full transcripts of all videos when posted either on tv.slashdot.org or on the main page as a story. Not everyone can listen to the audio, because of technical issues or hearing issues. Or like me, we are at work and cannot stop to listen to a video in an office environment.

    Other than that, keep up the great job, Slashdot! And thanks for being free!

    • YES! Transcripts so the literate and simply skim the text and skip the video postings. I don't like it when articles link only to videos-- then I read people's comments instead.

      You only got my contribution to the hit counter out of curiosity so do not assume interest in your videos by web stats.

  • why at all? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:43PM (#39588939) Homepage Journal

    Have you considered that maybe the majority of /. readers simply doesn't want videos?

    We came a long way with the Internet. The medium has the convenience of multimedia with the control of books. The best part of it is that I control how I consume. I can have /. open in a window to the side, or in the background. I can tab over there when something is compiling or rendering or uploading, check a story or a few comments and switch back to whatever I'm really doing at the time.

    More importantly, I can ready carefully or skim over stuff. Most stories get but a glance to see if there's anything that stands out as interesting.

    Videos don't work that way. They take a lot of control out of my hands. I'm a quick reader, but I can't speed up the video. I can't really skim over it the way I can with text. While I can pause and rewind, it's more work than on a written text.

    Really, online videos are a step backwards in most cases. Most of the stuff on youtube doesn't really deserve a video. Two screenshots and three sentences would cover it just as well. But grabbing your smartphone camera and uploading the crap without any editing is much easier, isn't it?

    You want to improve /. or move it forward? How about you listen to the criticism of the fans first and shelve any cute ideas until you have the basics covered? The editing quality on /. is as horrible as ever. Pay a couple good editors. 10 times the benefit of moving pictures.

    • Have you considered that maybe the majority of /. readers simply doesn't want videos?

      Dingdingding! We have a winner! Slashdot, you are not youtube. Don't try to be. In fact, if you REALLY want to do this, just create a slashdot channel there and be done with it. The people who want to watch your videos will. There. Not here.

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      As such, every video - every video should have a transcript included in the post. People who don't want to (or can't) watch the video aside, what about *blind* people that can't watch the video (due to lack of plugins/permissions, not due to lack of sight d=)? No machine-readable text = no story for them.

  • No need for a separate "TV" section. A better approach would be to link videos, audio, etc to posted articles, as needed. And make the TV section simply a different view of articles that emphasizes / lists all attached videos.

    Text based articles is what most visitors of Slashdot expect. Slashdot might as well just move the "TV" section over to a YouTube channel and be done with it.

  • Like I said before, /. is a text medium. Leave it alone.

    This isn't You Tube. When I want videos I go to You Tube. When I want pr0n, I go to a pr0n site. When I want News for Nerds I go to /.

  • Slashtdot TV looks so much like Fark TV to me. Didn't work for them either. We are here for the same old Slashdot that has been around for years. Stick to your core business. Seriously.

    You can post videos. Of course you can! Just put them in the same blog-style posts as usual.

  • Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by discord5 ( 798235 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:47PM (#39588995)

    Some of the videos just haven't gelled, to put it lightly

    You mean the slashvertisments? Yeah, those are terrible. I understand that you guys want to generate additional revenue from the site, but really you've been pushing the boundaries of what some of your audience will consider as an appropriate story.

    You've got a mostly technically inclined audience, and trying to sell them a "database proxy" that prevents SQL Injections will pretty much put off anyone who's done serious work in that area. You're not exactly catering to the easiest audience, but you managed to do so for the most part in the past 10 years. If you suddenly forgot how to pander to your audience, I really think you should have a look at your community and its roots and see where exactly you've lost touch.

    We're also planning to start finding and documenting some creative means of destruction for naughty hardware

    No, please... We've got the will it blend guy pimping his blenders, the will it fry guys with their tesla coils, and more enough kids with fireworks or hammers on youtube. Do something neat, something geeky. Do something that makes me go "Oh cool, I want to build one too" and grab my soldering iron or favourite editor of choice. Don't build a "death ray" out of a giant magnifying glass (remember that horrible story?) and burn yet another iphone/ipod. It's been done to death, and is extremely not geeky.

    • We're also planning to start finding and documenting some creative means of destruction for naughty hardware

      Ohh I missed that bit.

      Slashdot - if your target demographic is 15-19 year old males, just say so and I'll know I'm too mature-I-mean-old for this site and leave.

  • Always include a transcript.

    Give us chance to skim the content in 10 seconds and decide if we want to spend the 3+ minutes to watch it in real-time.

    • Agreed. I'm hearing-impaired. Care to guess how much I get out of watching these videos?

      Do a transcript. And then just leave out the video portion. You can still call them videos if you want, just don't have any video.
  • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:49PM (#39589031) Homepage Journal

    I have a sneaking suspicion that somebody just got here and think this site is digg.
    even those juvenile enough wanting to watch stuff blend doesn't come to slashdot for that.

    The readership of slashdot are not morons least ways not the ones that post the good stuff.

  • If you're guessing, you're doing it wrong.

    And yes, if you are doing a brainstorming session among the editors, without asking the readership, that's still guessing.

  • It's called "the web" for a reason - put a link to the video that is posted on youtube or wherever and you're done. Really doesn't matter to me either way - I won't watch 'em...

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @03:02PM (#39589225) Homepage Journal

    Hackaday [hackaday.com] is a tech-oriented site which includes videos in many of it's posts. In general, their videos are informative and on-point. They make the browsing experience better.

    Let's compare and contrast those videos with the ones here, and see if slashdot can keep the good parts and ditch the bad parts.

    Hackaday videos are generated by the people making the articles. IOW, when they make some cool gadget, they have a website describing the build and a video of the device in action. Here's the first example [hackaday.com] that I could find in a quick search. Lots and lots of other examples.

    The subject matter of the cited example is rather uninteresting and techy, and it's amateurish, but the video does an excellent job of counterpointing and illustrating the text of the build.

    I've seen other examples where the ideas expressed in the text are badly described or difficult to grasp, but the video makes it clear. There are also many examples of things which are just plain cool when shown as video. Lots and lots of examples.

    Images are used to illuminate and express the interest and wonder of a concept, and videos should be used in the same way. Not as a medium in and of itself, but as a way to express those aspects which don't come out well in text or images.

    Using them for fake advertizements is the wrong approach - there is simply no general interest in seeing advertizements, and making them into videos doesn't make them more palatable. Having a video of a person talking, expressing an opinion, or describing something is completely backwards - the description should be text, the diagrams in images, and the action in video.

    If you had videos in the same vein and for the same reasons as Hackaday, it would be roundly appreciated by just about everyone.

    It's like what everyone says is the problem with the RIAA and MPAA - change your business model, give the customers what they want.

    We're still your customers [time.com], right?

    • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

      Thanks for this, we'll take a look.

    • Some observations that you might consider:

      1) The videos are "after the break". I can scan the text description and move on if I'm not interested. No space is wasted on the front page.

      2) The text descriptions refer to the videos, usually with the phrase "in the video after the break", which actually draws me in. I like to see things in action, it gives me a better sense of context and how things work together.

      3) Sometimes the description has "awesome video after the break" or some such; as in, "The dizzying [hackaday.com]

  • You are /. We love you for being what you are. Do not let your corporate overlords re-program you. You do not need to be "fun" and clever; those people will not visit here anyway. You need to be Mecca for nerds, and you are. Don't change... just get better at doing what you do.

    A long time user

  • TED is doing alot of things right when it comes to video so you might want to leverage some of their methods. One feature that is really nice and that would be great here is interactive transcripts. Along with that, a new markup comment tag to refer to a point in the video would be a great bonus.

  • If you want videos to be a hit on Slashdot, any person in the video should be a better-than-average-looking female, preferably one who isn't conservative with her clothing. All people in the video(including the one demonstrating the technology) should be shown as little as possible, unless they meet the aforementioned criteria very well. The product should be shown in action as quickly as possible to accommodate the widespread attention disorders (so many people have 4-minute videos that show the product in

  • ... it's still one of the few places left on the internet you can have somewhat intelligent discussion. Even with the stories being more baiting a good lot of us come for the comments and the fact that slashdot is still one of the few places in a world deeply mired in corruption and political bankruptcy.

    You can't please everybody but the growth at all costs mentality always leads to mediocrity. There is a reason why any discussion or issues approaching intelligence naturally limits audience size. If you

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry