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Why I'm not joining the slashcott

mcgrew (92797) writes | about 7 months ago

User Journal 14

It was a really nasty surprise when I opened slashdot and Beta hit me in the face. Apparently from the backlash, I was not alone. Every story was full of little but "fuck beta" comments. I added my own. There were one or two complaining about "anonymous posters" and the "fuck beta" protest, but most of the protesters were logged in.

It was a really nasty surprise when I opened slashdot and Beta hit me in the face. Apparently from the backlash, I was not alone. Every story was full of little but "fuck beta" comments. I added my own. There were one or two complaining about "anonymous posters" and the "fuck beta" protest, but most of the protesters were logged in.

The biggest mistake Dice made was releasing barely alpha-quality code to the public, as many have pointed out. The second big mistake was slapping us in the face with it. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was the announcement that the Slashdot Classic interface was going to be gone, and we'd be stuck with this butt-ugly unusable interface.

Meanwhile, someone opened a new site for slashdot beta refugees to flee to, "altslashdot.org". It lasted a few hours before getting slashdotted, it was nearly impossible to get in over the weekend. Yesterday that URL gave a 404; they changed the name to "soylent" something or other, I couldn't find the site last night. Probably just as well, over the weekend they seemed to be trying to handle slashdot sized traffic with a 386 and a 33.3 modem. None of the sites I've run have ever had that problem, but I didn't try to host them on a single desktop using DSL as these guys seem to be doing, I got hosts who had the infrastructure to handle a slashdotting. Guys, I'm paying fifteen bucks a year for my book site! Hosting is dirt cheap.

A boycott of slashdot started yesterday. I intended to join at first; when Classic is gone, slashdot is gone. I intended to only check my mesages this week, and post my normal Wednesday Nobots chapter with a subtle hint that web sites die when not properly cared for; Rority takes me back ten years to a then thriving community that is now a ghost town.

In the messages was an offtopic comment from soulskill, in response to an offtopic comment of mine about Beta and Classic. "Classic isn't going away any time soon." It's pretty obvious to me that they not only hear us, they're in panic mode. They realize their blunder. The protest has been effective. There is no longer any need for a boycott, we have been heard, loud and clear.

That was certain this morning when I opened slashdot at work. I was served Classic, without having to add ?&"nobeta=1" and there were no messages in the header about Beta. It's as if Beta was just a bad dream.

There is no need for a boycott, no more need for "fuck beta" posts. If they slide again, we can resume. But soulskill, at least, has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, Dice won't kill my beloved slashdot.

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14 comments

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soylentnews.org (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 7 months ago | (#46225495)

I was kind of hopeful for them. I thought maybe someone would step up and produce The Awesome (this is slashdot, after all) but so far all they've managed to do is set up a wiki and a phpBB forum. As their site says right now:

Yeah, yeah... we're working on it.

Their current project appears to be overlords that manage various features. I think by the end of the month the committee to determine the number of committees required to determine the site features will be issuing their report and work can begin on staffing the committees that will decide how many committees will be necessary to develop the site code.

On the slashdot side of things, the more I see of the beta, the more I'm reminded of the rollout of D2. So many of the problems the beta is having now are exactly like the problems D2 had when it rolled out (tiny comment boxes, inability to see anything when you clicked a comment link, etc) they eventually fixed these, but it's not encouraging to see the exact same mistakes being made again. We even lost some of the great features of D2 like hidden/collapsed/full comments and a nested view that didn't make it impossible to read a conversation that went on for more than a couple of posts.

Re:soylentnews.org (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#46225975)

Yeah, I'm not too hopeful of a site that wants to be slashdot that can't hold up to a slashdotting. I do hope Dice doesn't kill slashdot.

Re:soylentnews.org (1)

gottabeme (590848) | about 7 months ago | (#46234859)

I think it's rather silly to expect a brand new site with no established user base to have the infrastructure to handle a slashdotting. Not only would it be expensive, but until the need is there, it's wasteful. Do you want to fund it? And there's no way that $15 a year buys hosting that can handle a real slashdotting. If that were the case, there would be no such thing as slashdotting anymore.

Re:soylentnews.org (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#46236925)

My old Quake site took a slashdotting once without slowing down. Of course, that was more than ten years ago, and that fifteen bucks only buys five megs of space. You could offload most of that to local storage or buy (rent) more space.

I'm hopeful of their success, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

Re:soylentnews.org (1)

gottabeme (590848) | about 7 months ago | (#46241257)

That must have been a weak slashdotting.

Anyway, what's your point? Why the negative talk? What good does it do? Let's either help or just wait and see.

Re:soylentnews.org (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#46248081)

It was way back when slashdot was new and much of the internet was powered by hobbyist equipment.

I'm really pulling for the soylent guys and hope my lack of faith is misplaced.

25% (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 7 months ago | (#46225663)

One thing that shocked the shit out of me is that 25% of visitors were redirected to 'beta'. That's an incredibly large number for something so clearly unready for prime time and so clearly reviled.

I also think calling it a 'beta' was a bad joke. This thing isn't even close to feature complete (unless Dice plans on destroying a huge amount of slashdot to turn it into just another buzzfeed).

Typically I loathe soulskill's stories and his lack of editing. But I must admit that while sending some mixed messages regarding the beta, he has been, on balance, helpful. (One mixed message is his vociferous defense of the beta process. He claims that they have made substantial changes since October. When pressed, all he could cite was a minor change of the width of one css element.)

Re:25% (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#46225949)

Well, I can only agree with that. But as long as classic stays it should be OK. When it's gone, I probably will be too.

Beta was not forced on me (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 months ago | (#46227455)

For whatever reason I have not been directed to Beta yet. The link is occasionally there that I can click on to see it if I want. I don't know if this is related to the fact that the polls never show up on my front page and/or that I have not had mod points in years or not.

That said altslashdot/soylent is an interesting idea but I think they are going about it wrong. They are dedicated to using the available slashcode, which means they will be using code that was released around 2007 (and almost certainly has a long list of unpatched bugs). I advocated for them to try for their goals by sticking with a wiki, but it's not my site.

Re:Beta was not forced on me (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#46228835)

I think Soulskill said something like 25% got stuck there. It didn't hit me at home, but it did at work.

I don't think a wiki format would work as a messageboard. Slashdot's always had bugs, the code 7 years ago was no worse than any other time (remember just a couple years ago when journals were all screwed up?).

I think soylent's biggest problem is lack of bandwidth. I don't have much hope for them.

Re:Beta was not forced on me (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 months ago | (#46229443)

I don't think a wiki format would work as a messageboard.

I'm not sure that it would be much worse than the old slashcode, though. It is also in far more active development than what is in the slashcode repository.

Slashdot's always had bugs, the code 7 years ago was no worse than any other time (remember just a couple years ago when journals were all screwed up?).

Indeed, it has never been perfect. I just don't see the wisdom in taking really old code and hoping to use it to make a product that is better than what descended from it. Of course, it isn't my site - and I'm not inclined to make one myself either - so whether I'm right, wrong, or other, it doesn't much matter. I do wish them the best.

It seems to me that they want to be able to create the slashdot of last month, using slashcode from 7 years ago. I'm not sure that is the best way to go about doing that.

I think soylent's biggest problem is lack of bandwidth. I don't have much hope for them.

I would say it is a problem, but I'm not sure it is their biggest one. If you have money available you can always buy more bandwidth and get it up pretty quick. I think the code base will be a bigger problem for them. Considering the kind of intransigence that is characteristic of some of the slashdot programmers I would be surprised if the code is well commented or laid out in a logical manner.

Re:Beta was not forced on me (1)

gottabeme (590848) | about 7 months ago | (#46234881)

Code that was around as long as Slashcode from 2007 also has a long list of patched bugs. People seem to forget about all the bugs that have to be fixed in every new software project. Starting over is always tempting, because it sounds like fun, but it's also very expensive, and often wasteful.

And come on, a replacing Slashdot with a wiki? Seriously? If that's what you think, what are you waiting for? :)

Re:Beta was not forced on me (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 months ago | (#46235101)

Code that was around as long as Slashcode from 2007 also has a long list of patched bugs.

And where are those patches? I can tell you one place where you won't find them - in the slashcode repository. It isn't just that it contains the base code from 2007 - it has the base code from some date in 2007 and not a single file newer than that. If you installed the latest version of slashcode you would be on your own to figure out where the bugs are and how to deal with them.

People seem to forget about all the bugs that have to be fixed in every new software project.

Sure, but if you want to achieve the functionality of this site (minus the current beta) why start with code that ran this 7 years ago? If you decided you wanted to build your own distribution of Linux you wouldn't start with a kernel and software sources from 7 years ago, would you?

Starting over is always tempting, because it sounds like fun, but it's also very expensive, and often wasteful.

I don't think any reasonable person would start on a slashdot alternative with the hopes of making money on it.

And come on, a replacing Slashdot with a wiki?

I don't see how the slashcode from 2007 is a better option.

If that's what you think, what are you waiting for? :)

Because I don't have the disposable resources to build a slashdot replacement in any way, shape, or form.

Re:Beta was not forced on me (1)

gottabeme (590848) | about 7 months ago | (#46241247)

People seem to forget about all the bugs that have to be fixed in every new software project.

Sure, but if you want to achieve the functionality of this site (minus the current beta) why start with code that ran this 7 years ago? If you decided you wanted to build your own distribution of Linux you wouldn't start with a kernel and software sources from 7 years ago, would you?

No, but neither would I try to recreate the kernel from scratch, nor would I try to turn the BeOS kernel into Linux. If all the software since 2007 disappeared, and I wanted Linux back, I'd most certainly start with Linux from 2007. Wouldn't you?

Starting over is always tempting, because it sounds like fun, but it's also very expensive, and often wasteful.

I don't think any reasonable person would start on a slashdot alternative with the hopes of making money on it.

It's not about money, it's about time and effort. Volunteer time and effort is costly and shouldn't be wasted.

And come on, a replacing Slashdot with a wiki?

I don't see how the slashcode from 2007 is a better option.

You don't? Slashcode from 2007 basically does what Slashdot does now--at least, what it did back then, which hasn't fundamentally changed. I was happy with Slashdot in 2007. What does Slashdot do now that it didn't do then?

And why would I want to use a wiki instead? Have you looked at how discussions work on wikis? Ugh!

If that's what you think, what are you waiting for? :)

Because I don't have the disposable resources to build a slashdot replacement in any way, shape, or form.

Neither do I. But wikis are wikis; you just use them, right? Why don't we just start a wiki on some free wiki host and start posting the kind of stories Slashdot posts, and let people edit the page and add comments?

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