It's been a long time since I posted an update about Slashdot but a few recent changes warrant me doing it. You should see the OSDN Navbar atop the page now. I don't like it any more then many of you, so if you log in, there is an option to disable it. (Click the 'X', or look in Preferences:Misc) A few more notes follow including the lowdown on subscriptions, formkey bugs, and AC filters.
The formkey bug that was wreaking havoc all weekend was fixed. It was a mistake in seeding rand that was causing a small percentage of users to have problems posting. It wasn't a conspiracy designed to thwart anyone, just you. Man it was a pain in the ass. But it was squashed on Sunday (thank god).
Anonymous Coward filtering is now in place. It's not exactly finished, but it'll do for now. Essentially there is now a user preference that sets all AC posts to -1. This has been a very common user request for some time, so turn it on if you like. It's currently off by default. It's only a baby step: eventually there will be more fine-tuned controls for anonymous posts, as well as comment types. For Example: I'd personally like to assign a -2 penalty on any comment rated 'funny' because most of them frankly just aren't funny at all. But humor is far too subjective to say that the moderation is unfair. Anyway, now everyone can decide for themselves. That should happen in the next few weeks.
Last up, I'm gonna talk a little about advertisements and subscriptions. Slashdot continues to grow: our traffic has increased by like 10% in the last few months, and simply selling the banner ads you see on top of each page isn't going to be enough to keep us afloat if we keep growing. And selling banner ads in 2001 is an awful lot harder then it was in 1999.
The change will be a different ad size on the article page. Currently we have the standard banner size on top of all pages, but soon the article pages will instead have those huge square things that you see on CNet or ZD. I know this will be unpopular with many people, myself included, but when we make the switch, we will also have some sort of subscription system where you can pay a fee to disable them honestly. (No I don't know how much yet!)
Just to shut down the conspiracy theorists, nobody is forcing us to make these changes: The navbar. The new ad formats. The subscription system. I could just say 'No' to changes like these. But Slashdot is now four years old ... and I want it to still be here four years from now. I hope you can understand the expensive reality associated with making this site happen every day for a quarter of a million readers.
Now flame me if you feel it necessary. Get it out of your system.