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It's Cowboy Time. Slow Down, Cowboy!

sm62704 (957197) writes | more than 6 years ago

Editorial 4

Historically, slashdot has wisely limited the number of posts that a reader who isn't logged in can make in a certain time period. Allowing unlimited anonymous posts invites spam and trolling (link to the wiki included because a lot of slashdotters, even slashdot moderators, have funny ideas of what "trolls" are).

Historically, slashdot has wisely limited the number of posts that a reader who isn't logged in can make in a certain time period. Allowing unlimited anonymous posts invites spam and trolling (link to the wiki included because a lot of slashdotters, even slashdot moderators, have funny ideas of what "trolls" are).

Slashdot has recently tried to become a "MySpace for nerds", with its friends, foes, fans, freaks, etc. This is to be applauded IMO; true nerds are not in the mainstream, although oddly to this old nerd there are now nerd wannabes. This seems a huge irony to me, as "nerd" used to be a grave high school insult.

But very recently slashdot has extended this limit on the number of posts in a certain time period to logged in users.

A site for nerds is penalizing the hyperlex. I'm not referring to wikipedia's definition of the hyperlex; I refer to people who are the opposite of someone with dyslexia, people who read very fast with a high degree of comprehension of reading matter, who become completely immersed in well written prose to the extent that they are harder to awaken from their reading than normal people are from sleep. I'm sure many if not most slashdotters fall into this category. John F Kenendy was said to be one.

Not only are logged in users penalized for the ability to read and/or type fast, logged in users with excellent karma are as well. This poses grave problems for the hyperlex, but moreso for slashdot's seeming want to become a social network for nerds.

Here is the problem with that - the hyperlexic nerd (and "hyperlexic nerd" may well be a redundant phrase) logs on to slashdot after a long day of coding or engineering or studying hubble photos or whatever possibly non-nerdy occupation he or she may earn money from and spends two or three hours on slashdot, commenting on stories he or (less usually, of course) she is interested in, has expertise in, or finds humorous.

Then they eat dinner, rebuild the dog and debug the computer (need more flea spray) and wonder why they can't find a mate. Ok, that's enough of the "mom's basement" jokes. I promise. Well, in this thread anyway.

The next day they come home from work to find that the three or four comments they posted have been highly rated, and "slashdot's message center" says they have forty two "messages" (in reality 42 comments commenting on their comments). With slashdot's new five minute delay between posting comments, that's three and a half hours spent merely responding to "messages", assuming said nerd answers all forty two.

"Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment."

But the poster is given this roadblock the next day, commenting on a story that is for all intents and purposed dead and buried, and he or she is trying to answer people who have written responses to the poster's comments.

So here are a few small suggestion to slashdot's site coders.

Make the time between posts karma-dependant. A certain, long time value for anonymous posts (even if the post is anonymous by checking the "post anonymously" box, regardless of the poster's karma). A bit longer than that for users with bad karma, less for new users who haven't recieved downmods, with increasingly short posting times as a user's karma increases. After all, the theory karma's based on is that users who post insightful, witty, interesting, etc. posts are likely to continue doing so and that those who troll and flame are likewise likely to continue to do so.

People come to slashdot for three reasons: to find stories in other sites they may seldom if ever visit that would interest them, but mostly for the funny, insightful, informative, interesting comments.

Some just come to troll, of course.

The "cowboy time" should be dependant on how long it has been since the story one is comenting on is posted. Why must I "allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment" on a story that isn't even on the front page any more and has already had 420 comments? Stories older than 24 hours shouldn't have any "cowboy time" at all!

Likewise, if slashdot wants to be the "MySpace for nerds" it seems to want to become, then there should be no cowboy time whatever when posting from the "slashdot message center", except perhaps when the summary itself is less than a certain time old.

To those of you who wonder why I'm not responding to your comments, particularly if you're asking a question, blame Cowboy Neal. Contrary to popular opinion I can't spend all my time at slashdot. I have to go to the bars and get rejected by women so I have something to write about in my journals.

No, reading my journals isn't a reason people come to slashdot. But it's especially annoying to have to wait five minutes to respond to someone's comment in my "own" journal!

Update: I just discovered today (and it didn't seem like this was the case yesterday) that the more comments I made in a story, the longer the cowboy time. Which makes sense to me.

If you're a slashdot coder and just implimented that, kudos! I endorse the idea!

cancel ×

4 comments

A couple of thoughts (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23510342)

sm62704, 186 fans, zero friends, 55 freaks, zero foes, and a couple of thoughts from PoliTech.

Considering those numbers (friends and foes), one could find oneself surprised that sm62704 cares about other Slashdotter's comments to his musings in any way whatsoever.

I'm not trying to bait you sm62704, because you are indeed an active participant in many of the articles appearing here, and your journal is regularly updated and is generally pretty entertaining. Just pointing out ... you know ... some feelings of rejection, which lead one to wondering if one is being accepted or rejected, valued or discarded, or simply ignored.

A nice feature of having someone added as a "friend" is that the friend's Journal postings are seen as messages to his other friends. In my case I must have enjoyed discussing something or other with you once (not necessarily in agreement, mind you).

So in addition to our enjoyable discussion, I added you to my friends list and now enjoy your journaling far more frequently than I otherwise would have. I suspect that you also could find value in that aspect of the /. Community functionality.

I agree with you that /. Comment timing system is by no means a perfect system but keep in mind that one risk of removing the timer on old articles is that they will then be filled with spam shortly thereafter, rendering them useless as archival material.

I like the idea of "karma-dependant" perquisites, however I have some reservations given that, as the /. modding system and karma continue to devolve into its own unique form of groupthink, one can't be assured that eventually only those towing the "consensus" line would receive those karmic benefits.

/. is enough of an echo chamber as it is, so I hope the community keeps thinking of things to improve itself (like some of the ideas your journaling about here).

I have an idea, add these people [slashdot.org] to your friends list and you can tell them what you think directly and have a good chance of your opinions being heard, by responding to their recent Journal posts.

Regards

PoliTech

P.S. IMO "Nerd" is much better than "Geek". I'm old enough to have had the pleasure of seeing an actual professional Geek perform at a circus sideshow. I have always found the term to be extremely insulting.

Re:A couple of thoughts (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23510904)

Thanks. I think the idea of "fans" and "friends" is backwards; in meatspace you can't choose who is friends with you, you can only choose who you are friends with. A meatspace friend is someone you can count on when you need them, and a true one is a very, very valuable commodity. And I don't want to be foes with anyone, either in meatspace or cyberspace.

I find it amusing to have no friends but many fans. Actually, though, the real "friends" are the ones who take the time to make writing these journals worthwhile, which is the people who read (and especially comment on) them.

In my case I must have enjoyed discussing something or other with you once (not necessarily in agreement, mind you)

That's no different than in meatspace. Discussions with those who have differing opinions are far more interesting than ones with people who share your views. It annoys me when someone marks a comment they disagree with as "troll", and I take pleasure in metamoderating those posts.

As to "nerd" vs "geek", it was Niel Armstrong (who lived the nerd's wet dream come true) who said "I always have been and always will be a pocket protector-wearing nerd."

I had some bad experiences with groupthink a few years back at K5, I got popular enough there that there was a backlash, and one of the admins (Pete Jongular) started a vendetta against me, and the place got too irritating to be fun. That experience is why I have avoided adding anyone to my "friends" list. I like to think that I'm a friend to everyone at slashdot, except perhaps that one troll who posts so much, you know him, "anonymous coward".

Re:A couple of thoughts (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512040)

K5=kuro5hin.org? Sorry I am a UseNet junkie who only recently (cupla years) began dabbling in the Web 2.0 world.

With good old NNTP, and it's thousands of groupthink categories, each with just about every groupthink iteration one could imagine, I'm intimately familiar with the concept.

The friends/foes thing was odd to me as well at first, but I view it on /. as a measure of intellectual respect, or an acknowledgement of someone with whom you can see eye to eye to eye.

The journal notifications are turning out to be the most valuable component of the friends/foes system for me.

"anonymous coward" ... well sometimes ... he is me.

Re:A couple of thoughts (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23521822)

K5=kuro5hin.org?

Yes.

"anonymous coward" ... well sometimes ... he is me.

He would have been me once today. I had a "ballmer chair" joke that wouldn't have worked if it wasn't posted AC, but I got an eight minute cowboy time on it and gave up.

I suspect that a slashdot coder may have implimented one or more of my suggestions!

I'll give more thought to the "friends" thing. I doubt I'll ever add anyone as "foe", however.

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