We're pleased to announce the newest reason for you to subscribe to Slashdot. Besides the ability to suppress banner ads, limit journal postings to friends, and a few plums, Subscribers now see stories posted on Slashdot from The Mysterious Future! These stories are recognizable by the red title bar, and the lack of a time stamp. Subscribers will be able to beat the rush and read the links before everyone else. You can hit the link below and I'll explain exactly what this means. If this appeals to you, you could read the subscriber FAQ or just go subscribe.First off, this feature doesn't change anything for non-subscribers. All Slashdot stories are put into the story queue before you see them. The time stamps on these stories vary tremendously. Sometimes the story is posted days in advance (like, say, a Book Review or an Ask Slashdot where time isn't critical and we post a set number a week) Other stories are "Breaking News" and are posted just seconds before they go live. But most stories are posted 20-30 minutes before they go live. This time window gives other authors a chance to take a look at them. To fix spelling, to check for dupes (HAH!) or even to reject the story outright!
So while subscribers won't see news posted at the last minute before everyone else, most of our stories will be available to them 10-20 minutes before everyone else. This means they can click through and beat the Slashdot Effect.
Another possible feature addition that we're discussing is to allow subscribers to post during this window. We haven't decided if that's a good idea or not. Since subscribers are still subject to all the same restrictions as anyone else in the forums, they could still be moderated into oblivion if they were jerks about it so it's probably not subject to all that much abuse, but this is still something we're only considering. Feel free to discuss it in this forum, or to contact me with opinions.
A couple of notes here:
- Subscribers have a variable on their subscriptions preference page that tells us how many banner ads they wish to "Spend" per day. This number must be at least 10 for you to be eligible to see the Mysterious Future plum. This means that your $5 subscription will last 100 days- or, $15-20 a year.
- You also need to hit the checkbox to disable ads on the Index. Once you hit your Max Pages for the day, you will see ads again, but you will also be eligible for the plum.
- These notes will be clarified on both the subscriptions page and in the FAQ very soon. Your feedback will help us decide how best to explain this since it's not exactly black & white here. Give us a couple weeks and it should all be blazingly obvious from the documentation how everything works.
In closing, this is a new feature and we appreciate all your feedback, both good and bad. We decided to implement this after tons of feedback from you, and we're really excited about it. This is a really great incentive for users to subscribe, but it also can give subscribers a chance to alert us in advance if stories have mistakes in them. We'll likely be expanding this sort of functionality in the future.
Now please go subscribe and help support Slashdot!
Update To clarify the timing. Right now the mysterious future is set to 20 minutes. That number is not a promise tho, since a story posted 11 minutes before "Air time" would be seen slighter later. A story posted 30 minutes in advance will be visible 20 minutes early.