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On the Matter of Slashdot Story Selection

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the there-goes-my-week dept. 1259

Conspiracy theories again run rampant as users accuse Slashdot Editors of being in cahoots with scam artists. Sounds like just a normal day at the office for me. Except that I've decided to say a few words on Slashdot article selection process and users who try to abuse it. Read on for my rant.

Let's talk about Beatles Beatles. For the uninitiated he's just some dude who submits a lot of stories. He actually happens to get a lot of them accepted. We have a number of users like this. Looking at the hall of fame shows you a number of the most successful ones. Now the motivation for getting a Slashdot story accepted (besides fame, glory and sexy women who start IMing you naked pictures of themselves mere seconds after a story goes live)is a return link to the website of your choosing. Your creds. Your 'Reward' for sharing a cool URL with a half a million Slashdot readers.

It's not hard to figure out what sorts of stories Slashdot likes. We have a format, and a subject matter. A persistent user can simply start spamming the bin with a submission about everything he finds that comes even close. If he does it enough, he'll get a few through. Especially if he manages to get something reasonable in at 11pm when there's little else to choose from.

Now there is no conspiracy. There is some Roland guy who's last name i can't spell who submits stuff all the time and people thought for awhile he was Timothy. Lately there is a Beatles Beatles user who conspiracy theorists now think is Scuttlemonkey. We don't know these people. They are not aliases for us. They aren't paying us. 3 months from now it will be somebody else.

Now these submitters each have their problems. In Roland's case, he likes to link to his personal blog where he writes mediocre summaries of stories that add nothing to the original. In BBs case, he just cuts and pastes paragraphs from linked pages. Both use their return link to link a web page which is, in my opinion, pretty worthless.

Now technically speaking, we could add a nofollow to their URLs. Or strip them entirely. But that puts me into the position of editing not just the submission, but the submittor, and i really don't think that this is "Right".

Part of the Slashdot Editor's job is to make a submission "Presentable". Usually this means moving a few URLs around. I'd guess a good half of story submissions use the word 'here' or 'article' or something equally stupid as their anchor text. I prefer relevant words to be linked. There are other minor things tho, like taking off extra intros like "Hi guys I read Slashdot every day and thought you would like this". We want the Slashdot story to be mostly distilled down to the essentials. Just the key 3-4 sentences.

Should part of this process be checking the URL of the submitter to make sure that it is legitimate? Does that really matter? Should we add a nofollow tag to those URLs?

My opinion is no. Those URLs are what you get for submitting a story to Slashdot. We selected it. The submission braved the Gauntlet. A hundred submissions died, and this one made the cut. I don't think it's fair that we strip creds from someone just because they choose to squander that URL on something stupid. Who am I to judge that after all?

Now the real problem with this is what it does to the discussion. Last night a nice story was posted. It came from one of our "Problem" users. And dozens of comments were posted about this user. The conspiracy theories. The hostility. Now a lot of this is normal Slashdot Forum Faire. Thats fine. But the problem is that often when this occurs, it swamps out the real discussion. The messenger becomes the story.

I think this sucks.

The story is not about Roland or Beatles Beatles or whatever other random user is submitting a lot of stuff this week. I encourage moderators to use their points to mod these discussions down when they see them. As a moderator, your job ought to be to steer the discussion on-topic. The submitter is almost never the topic!

The catch-22 kills me. I might have a URL in the bin worth sharing. Something a half a million of you might enjoy. But because a user with a "Reputation" submitted it, I know that posting it will spawn a giant forum cesspool. I could strip attribution and take away incentive for a user to submit. Or just throw away the article and forget it. Or I could post the story and watch as half of the discussion is simply about the submitter and not the URL that i wanted to share in the first place.

Damned if I do, damned if I don't, right? I'm seriously looking for feedback here. What should I do with a good submission from a reader with a reputation?

And moderators, use those offtopic mods to steer the discussion towards the subject of the article, not the flavor of the month conspiracy theory about story selection.

As a side note, I'm really going to try to write more articles addressing Slashdot matters on to Slashdot. But please understand that doing so is tremendously time consuming- this article will generate hundreds of pieces of mail and forum posts that I want to read and reply to. But there are only so many hours in the day. I would like to request that the forum try to stay on-topic here. Let's talk specifically about the issues i addressed above. We can talk about digg or moderation or whatever issues are of most interest next week.

Update a dozen or so users have made the same point: Simply wait for the same story to come from another user. If that was possible, I would do so. I'm really talking here about stories that are submitted just by one person. Part of why these users are successful is that they submit enough stories that they get a handful that only THEY submitted. I can't simply wait for someone else. That will never come!

update Allright it's been about 300 hours. I've read every comment posted so far, and replied to many. Even managed to whore myself a couple dozen upmods ;) I think we will add a nofollow to the submittor link. Several users raised good points and they ultimately convinced me that since the focus of the story is the submission, not the submittor, any link that detracts from the focus is less relevant. This will probably reduce some kinds of abuse in the future, but of course not all.

There's a lot of really good discussion in there. Some really good feedback. I haven't touched my inbox yet, but I see a lot of messages in there as well that I'll try to get to. I'll try to post again in another week or 2 on some other subject matter. If you have ideas on what that should be, you're welcome to email and suggest topics. We'll try to make it, if not regular, a frequent thing on Slashdot.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Nofollow that fellow (3, Insightful)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435806)

What should I do with a good submission from a reader with a reputation?

Toss it. The reason those submitters earn their reputation is because you haven't killed his or her stories before. You need some kind of editorial policy where all your editors share the same basic guidelines for what to approve and what not to, and this should include a corpus of "known troublemakers". It's basic due diligence and should be as natural as looking a wee bit harder for dupes and checking the spelling and grammar one last time before hitting "Publish". And yes, add the "nofollow". It doesn't detract from the story one bit, but it does kill some of the story spammer's motivation.

I'd rather live without a good story completely than having it ruined by a discussion about the submitter.

There are plenty more stories in the sea, but there's just one Slashdot.

My complaint about Rob Malda (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435869)

What I have to say will probably provoke a response from Rob Malda. He may label me "mudslinging" or even "inconsiderate". I realize and accept that as a consequence of what I am about to say. However, I hope that Malda will read everything I have to say before labeling me. Let me begin by citing a range of examples from the public sphere. For starters, Malda's prevarications all stem from one, simple, faulty premise -- that cultural tradition has never contributed a single thing to the advancement of knowledge or understanding.

Malda's helots are too lazy to indicate in a rough and approximate way the two irritable tendencies that I believe are the main driving force of modern fanaticism. They just want to sit back, fasten their mouths on the public teats, and casually forget that Malda's statements such as "It's perfectly safe to drink and drive" indicate that we're not all looking at the same set of facts. Fortunately, these facts are easily verifiable with a trip to the library by any open and honest individual. Malda's grand plan is to agitate for indoctrination programs in local schools. I'm sure Mao Tse Tung would approve. In any case, the unalterable law of biology has a corollary that is generally overlooked. Specifically, just the other day, some of Malda's garrulous, phallocentrism-oriented devotees forced a prospectus into my hands as I walked past. The prospectus described Malda's blueprint for a world in which abhorrent survivalists (especially the brutal type) are free to exploit the public's short attention span in order to encourage men to leave their wives, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become litigious, morally crippled tyrants of various stripes. As I dropped the prospectus onto an overflowing wastebasket, I reflected upon the way that Malda wouldn't know a new idea if it hit him over the head. But the problems with Malda's principles don't end there. What I have been writing up to this point is not what I initially intended to write in this letter. Instead, I decided it would be far more productive to tell you that Malda just wants to avoid detection and punishment. Whatever weight we accord to that fact, we may be confident that I want my life to count. I want to be part of something significant and lasting. I want to expose injustice and puncture prejudice. Malda is one of the world's major voices of sectarianism. Although others may disagree with that claim, few would dispute that it's not the boogeyman that our children need to worry about. It's Malda. Not only is Malda more bumptious and more predaceous than any envisaged boogeyman or bugbear, but Malda knows how to lie. It's too bad he doesn't yet understand the ramifications of lying.

Malda claims that he can change his destructive ways. This is a very self-pitying and unconstructive view and moreover, is wrong in many ways. Since I have promised to be candid, I will tell you candidly that he has declared that he's staging a revolt against everyone who wants to call for proper disciplinary action against him and his subordinates. Malda's revolting all right; the very sight of him turns my stomach. All kidding aside, when I was younger, I wanted to keep his goombahs at bay. I still want to do that, but now I realize that we should not concern ourselves with his putative virtue or vice. Rather, we should concern ourselves with our own welfare and with the fact that if Malda can overawe and befuddle a sufficient number of prominent individuals, then it will become virtually impossible for anyone to advocate social change through dialogue, passive resistance, and nonviolence.

If Malda can give us all a succinct and infallible argument proving that his litanies prevent smallpox, I will personally deliver his Nobel Prize for Bestial Rhetoric. In the meantime, when I was a child, my clergyman told me, "There is another side to the issue." If you think about it you'll see his point. There's an important difference between me and Malda. Namely, I am willing to die for my cause. Malda, in contrast, is willing to kill for his -- or, if not to kill, at least to replace intellectual integrity with semi-intelligible sloganeering. When he tells us that everyone with a different set of beliefs from his is going to get a one-way ticket to Hell, he somehow fails to mention that the only thing protecting the people of this world from his venal homilies is our love of freedom and concern for justice. He fails to mention that that statement can be most easily defended, since it is not quantitative, but qualitative. And he fails to mention that he knows that performing an occasional act of charity will make some people forgive -- or at least overlook -- all of his ridiculous excesses. My take on the matter is that there are some improvident dips who are mischievous. There are also some who are lethargic. Which category does Malda fall into? If the question overwhelms you, I suggest you check "both". I overheard one of Malda's backers say, "Children should get into cars with strangers who wave lots of yummy candy at them." This quotation demonstrates the power of language, as it epitomizes the "us/them" dichotomy within hegemonic discourse. As for me, I prefer to use language to show you, as dispassionately as possible, what kind of dictatorial thoughts Malda is thinking about these days.

There's a lot of talk nowadays about Malda's silly fairy tales but not much action. As far as I can tell, if you can make any sense out Malda's self-aggrandizing, hotheaded sermons, then you must have gotten higher marks in school than I did. Even though Malda gives flattering titles to his natural distempers, Malda's coadjutors have learned their scripts well and the rhetoric comes gushing forth with little provocation. Although I agree with those who believe that the spirits of our ancestors grieve as they watch him bury our heritage, our traditions, and our culture, nevertheless, I cannot agree with the subject matter and attitude that is woven into every one of his prurient rantings.

That's just one side of the coin. The other side is that I receive a great deal of correspondence from people all over the world. And one of the things that impresses me about it is the massive number of people who realize that if Malda had his way, schools would teach students that we should all bear the brunt of his actions. This is not education but indoctrination. It prevents students from learning about how I need your help if I'm ever to dispense justice. "But I'm only one person," you might protest. "What difference can I make?" The answer is: a lot more than you think. You see, we wouldn't have a problem with neopaganism if it weren't for Malda. Although he created the problem, aggravated the problem, and escalated the problem, Malda insists that he can solve the problem if we just grant him more power. How naïve does he think we are? Truly, there are some simple truths in this world. First, the nicest thing that can be said about Malda's janissaries is that they are perverted layabouts out to tip the scales in Malda's favor. Second, Malda's equivocations must not go unchallenged. And finally, what I find frightening is that some academics actually believe Malda's line that my bitterness at him is merely the latent projection of libidinal energy stemming from self-induced anguish. In this case, "academics" refers to a stratum of the residual intelligentsia surviving the recession of its demotic base, not to those seekers of truth who understand that Malda's perspective is that he understands the difference between civilization and savagery. My perspective, in contrast, is that if Malda succeeds in his attempt to enact new laws forcing anyone who's not one of his apparatchiks to live in an environment that can, at best, be described as contemptuously tolerant, it'll have to be over my dead body. I suspect that no clear-thinking individual would have the temerity to understate the negative impact of recidivism. My views, of course, are not the issue here. The issue is that he will commit senseless acts of violence against anyone daring to challenge his distasteful adages because he possesses a hatred that defies all logic and understanding, that cannot be quantified or reasoned away, and that savagely possesses what I call obscene pop psychologists with passive-aggressive and uncontrollable rage. Although impertinent, self-deceiving serpents are relatively small in number compared to the general population, they are increasing in size and fervor.

Almost every day, Malda outreaches himself in setting new records for arrogance, deceit, and greed. It's undoubtedly breathtaking to watch him. I discussed this topic in a previous letter, so I will not go into great detail now, but I have begged his supporters to step forth and detail the specific steps and objectives needed to thwart Malda's postmodernist little schemes. To date, not a single soul has agreed to help in this fashion. Are they worried about how Malda might retaliate? The answer is obvious if you understand that Malda somehow manages to get away with spreading lies (science is merely a tool invented by the current elite to maintain power), distortions (people are pawns to be used and manipulated), and misplaced idealism (human beings should be appraised by the number of things and the amount of money they possess instead of by their internal value and achievements). However, when I try to respond in kind, I get censored faster than you can say "isomerizeparabolization".

Looking at it another way, we must understand that society has paid a dear price for letting Malda feed information from sources inside the government to organizations with particularly puerile agendas. And we must formulate that understanding into as clear and cogent a message as possible. From secret-handshake societies meeting at "the usual place" to back-door admissions committees, his advocates have always found a way to doctor evidence and classification systems and make inimical generalizations to support biased, preconceived views. As for the lies and exaggerations, if, five years ago, I had described a person like Malda to you and told you that in five years, he'd undermine the basic values of work, responsibility, and family, you'd have thought me egocentric. You'd have laughed at me and told me it couldn't happen. So it is useful now to note that, first, it has happened and, second, to try to understand how it happened and how he argues that his magic-bullet explanations are all sweetness and light. I wish I could suggest some incontrovertible chain of apodictic reasoning that would overcome this argument, but the best I can do is the following: He has gotten away with so much for so long that he's lost all sense of caution, all sense of limits. If you think about it, only a man without any sense of limits could desire to create a kind of psychic pain at the very root of the modern mind.

To make a long story short, Malda holds onto power like the eunuch mandarins of the Forbidden City -- sterile obstacles to progress who limit the terms of debate by declaring certain subjects beyond discussion. The most viperine carpetbaggers I've ever seen generally feel that he has no intention to offer stones instead of bread to the emotional and spiritual hungers of the world, but Malda's often-quoted beliefs (as I would certainly not call them logically reasoned arguments) belie this notion. He is so incredibly feckless that he really ought to change his name to "Feckless McFeckless, the Feckless King of the Feckless". I know because I have experienced that personally. If Malda thinks that his ventures are not worth getting outraged about then maybe he should lay off the wacky tobaccy. I, not being one of the many scary rumormongers of this world, frequently wish to tell him that he receives most of his knowledge from "Autism for Dummies". But being a generally genteel person, however, I always bite my tongue.

Malda has a natural talent for complaining. He can find any aspect of life and whine about it for hours upon hours. Maybe you, too, want to turn a deaf ear to need and suffering, so let me warn you: Under the guise of stimulating debate and illuminating diverse perspectives, his harangues actually infiltrate and then dominate and control the mass media. Sadly, lack of space prevents me from elaborating further. Finally, any one of the points I made in this letter could be turned into a complete research paper, but the conclusion of each would be the same: Education is vitiated by Rob Malda's assertions.

Thanks, Scott... :) []

Re:Nofollow that fellow (5, Insightful)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435870)

That's a horrible precedent, though. If you become a popular submitter it is because you submit relevant stories. You end up in a cycle where a submitter becomes popular, someone complains, and you blackball him because of it.

Why should you punish your best submitters, even if they are doing it for their own benefit (URL on a popular site)?

I do think that using Slashdot as a forum to talking about slashdot is a great way to generate discussion and help people understand what's happening.

Re:Nofollow that fellow (3, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435907)

I don't think you need to limit the number of submissions and add the nofollow tag. If they are just spamming to get their page rank up, they'll stop submitting with the nofollow tag in place. But if they are legitimately submitting good stories that people will want to read, they shouldn't be tossed out just because they submitted a few stories already. Just add the nofollow tag, that seems to be what most of the fuss is about.

Re:Nofollow that fellow (3, Insightful)

GeekyMike (575177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435920)

I think everyone has a chance to redeem themselves. Just because some guy decides to abuse the system doesn't mean he cannot learn from his mistakes. Learning from mistakes is what seperates us from the scriptkiddies

Nofollow that fellow-Copy of a copy. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435925)

"There are plenty more stories in the sea, but there's just one Slashdot."

That's what you think. []

Re:Nofollow that fellow (5, Insightful)

shinma (106792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435948)

The thing here is, Beatles Beatles, or whoever it'll be next, aren't "known troublemakers." The conspiracy theorists in the forums are the ones making trouble. Why should someone be punished for being a troublemaker when they are doing the thing that keeps the site alive?

What you're saying is, essentially, that a prolific submitter should have a halflife. Planned obsolescence. Once a submitter's name becomes "known," the editors should no longer accept their submissions, regardless of their quality?

That's not an appropriate or acceptable solution. Submissions are the lifeblood of sites like this, and to institute such a policy would discourage members of the community from submitting stories.

Re:Nofollow that fellow (2, Interesting)

wrp103 (583277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435964)

I wouldn't drop it, but I would hold onto it for a while. I would hope that if it is a good story, somebody else would submit it shortly.

I must admit I wondered about story submissions. At one point, I submitted a bunch of stories only to have them all rejected. In some cases, the story appeared eventually, but by somebody else. I just assumed that I wasn't fast enough, or that the editors tended to look at submissions from certain people first.

Thanks for the description of the process. More articles like this might help help reduce the off-topic rants.

DIGG rocks, /. sucks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435807)


OMFG First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435810)

clan d00m teabags the world

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435818)

Interesting that I got this error message for a while. :)

Re:Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (1)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435868)

While we're on the topic of Slashdot: I'm pretty sure that's not a bug, but rather a feature. It's always complained about as if it were some sort of error, but I suspect it's part of a system designed to reduce the GNAA-style first posts. Anybody know?

A simple suggestion: (4, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435826)

Institute a cap on the total number of stories a given submitter can get accepted (per day, week, month...whatever). A cap doesn't hurt legitimate submitters, while limiting the payoff for linkwhores.

Re:A simple suggestion: (1)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435835)

I think that is an excellent idea. Quality rather than quantity.

Re:A simple suggestion: (2, Insightful)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435883)

Only problem with this is that is you've got a problem child, that child will most likely obtain multiple identities to get around this limitation.

Then you could restrict IPs, but then that hurts innocent users who use public terminals

It only makes it marginally more difficult for the trouble maker to submit their articles, and, as Samara said, "it wouldn't stop"

Re:A simple suggestion: (5, Insightful)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435957)

This is a very perfect example of an arms race situation. I can't ban them, they'll get a new account/ip etc. And it doesn't solve the problem. We deal with the same issues in the moderation system.

Re:A simple suggestion: (5, Insightful)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435844)

But if the link is good, why NOT share it with the audience? I believe my first priority is to the readers here. If they would enjoy a link, why should the fact that it came from a user with a negative repution make me not choose the link?

Re:A simple suggestion: (1)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435882)

Are you saying that there's only a specific subset of people that submit quality links over the course of a day, because I'd be very surprised to hear that. I would hazard an estimate that you generate around 300 submissions per day, of which only 90 or so are post-worthy. Of course, I could be WELL under what the actual numbers are.

Re:A simple suggestion: (3, Interesting)

morcego (260031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435890)

Why not have a moderation system for the stories ? Let the users rate the story posted, and that information stick to the submitter profile. Then, users can filter the stories on their preferences, just like we can filter comments.
That way, you can publish the stories, and let the users decide what they want to see. We already have that for editors. Why not have it for the stories (step 1) or maybe even for submiters (step 2).

Re:A simple suggestion: (4, Interesting)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435980)

We had that schism already. The problem is that Slashdot is popular because of the balance of content it offers, and that balance is carefully designed by the editors. If you turn that over to the most active and vocal users, the site would be less likely to attract the (essentially more profitable) casual readers.

Re:A simple suggestion: (2, Insightful)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435892)

I'm in complete agreement with you. Good stories are good stories. If you start choosing not to post them just because the submitter submits a lot of stories then Slashdot becomes a joke. Waiting for a user no one has heard of to submit a good story that hasn't had much publicity could take days.

Stories matter, not the submitter.

Re:A simple suggestion: (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435906)

Perhaps you can consider the likelihood of somebody else submitting a story with the same link. I am speculating, however, it seems to me that you guys must get the same links over and over for hot topic stuff. If it is a unique link that is not likley to be submitted again, then post it.

Re:A simple suggestion: (2, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435911)

if the link is good, why NOT share it with the audience?

If the link is good, won't it be submitted (eventually?) by someone else?

Re:A simple suggestion: (5, Insightful)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435928)

So a better solution might be to cap the number of submissions, not "accepted" submissions.

If you only have a change to submit three stories a day, you know damn well that you're going to submit only the best. And if someone can come up with three great, published submissions a day, then let them whore their blog all they want: then they truly deserive it.

Re:A simple suggestion: (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435943)

I completely concur. My objection has always been to stories that are pointlessly inflammatory, wildly redundant or flat-out wrong. I've never understood why people seem untroubled by those but flip out over worthwhile submissions by an interested party. Or dupes, for that matter.

On the other hand, most of Roland's summaries fall into the "flat-out wrong" category.

There is an issue here you didn't address. (3, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435968)

If ScuttleMonkey does not know Beatles-Beatles, then why is he almost the only one who has ever posted his stories?

I have seen many, many, many submissions by Beatles-Beatles. I can't remember even one of them being posted by someone other than ScuttleMonkey. If it was simply a matter of Beatles-Beatles submitting a lot of stories, which you seem to infer, then they would be spread out among a number of editors, not all of which would be ScuttleMonkey.

This seems to poke a huge hole in your reply. There is something else going on here.

There are several ways you can combat this. WHy not change it so two edtiors need to approve a story instead of just one? Or, why not only have one external link / day for submitters? Then they wouldn't spam the queue so much.

As for your parent commect - the issue is not soley whether or not the user would enjoy the link. There is an issue of journailistic integrity here. Just because a story is facinating does not always mean a journalist should feel comfortable reporting on it. In the same way, just because a link is good does not mean you should be posting it.

If someone submitted a very interesting story, but their referrer link pointed at a child porn site, would you still post it?

Re:A simple suggestion: (1)

(startx) (37027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435987)

How about waiting a couple hours and using someone else's submission of the same link? Every time I read the comments section of Beatles Beatles (or whomever the troll of the day is) story, invariably there are at least 3 or 4 posts by people who have submitted the same thing, gotten rejected, and whine about it in the comments. Surely if a link is interesting or informative, the link spammer isn't the only one to submit it in a 24 hour period?

Re:A simple suggestion: (1)

engagebot (941678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435903)

This one makes sense. I mean, there's already a time limit imposed on posting to a thread. Granted, it only makes you wait a few seconds before posting again, but its the same kind of idea.

Re:A simple suggestion: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435930)

Institute a cap on the total number of stories a given submitter can get accepted (per day, week, month...whatever). A cap doesn't hurt legitimate submitters, while limiting the payoff for linkwhores.

Whoa! You'd better hope they don't do the same thing for story comments, attempting to limit the payoff for karmawhores hey TMM?

I disagree (-1, Troll)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435827)

If you feel the need to defend your story submission criteria/methods, then that means you yourself feel that it isn't up to snuff. So stop being a hypocrit, and actually fix the problem instead of trying to justify the crazy coincidences when it comes to story acceptance...

Re:I disagree (4, Insightful)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435859)

this is the most ridiculously flawed logic i've ever heard. if something is worth defending, it's obviously broken? you're assuming that all criticism is always valid. in my experience good systems are often compromises, and pleasing everyone is impossible.

Re:I disagree (2, Informative)

MankyD (567984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435908)

You didn't read his whole post. He wants advice on how best you'd like it fixed.

Re:I disagree (2, Informative)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435946)

he is trying to fix it, he's asking for feedback

Re:I disagree (1)

dslauson (914147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435966)

I love that whole "if you are trying to defend yourself, you must be guilty" logic. That's just silly.

I agree with the rant. We all realize exactly what Beatles-Beatles is doing. He's sponging off of Slashdot's pagerank by posting stories. Still, I say "So what?" Is he hurting anybody? No. Why do you guys keep freaking out about it?

He's submitting legitimate stories that have perfectly legitimate value. Yes, he has an alterior motive. I guess you're only allowed to do anything if it is purely out of altruism or philanthropy, right? That's stupid and naive.

I have to say that I find it much more annoying to hear all these people on Slashdot bitching and moaning about this guy than the fact that he's posting stories with self-serving links.

I realize I'm probably going to get modded down for having an unpopular opinion here, but I'm just damn sick of hearing about this. Seriously.

Interesting... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435830)

An article about Slashdot on Slashdot... why haven't Slashdot been slashdotted yet? Inquiring minds want to know.

Why let trolls and cranks influence the site? (4, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435831)

Just pust what's good. Don't let this issue influence your judgement about what to show.

As far as I can see, the conspiracy theories about various /. personalities - be they you, Katz, Michael, or the plethora of submitters - run in a smooth continuum through moderation system whiners and /.-herd posters all the way down to ordinary FP and OT trolls.

Some people are just brats. They said something and it got modded down, or they submitted a story and it got ignored and (gasp) some other submission got in that looked similar, and then they decide to hate /. personally, rather than simply move on. It can manifest in all kinds of ways, overt or quite subtle, and this is one of them.

That said, I'm certain that it's possible to trick, scam or abuse slashdot's editors with story submissions. I've certainly seen some questionable writeups go by over the years. It doesn't take anything away from the site, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

For the most part, the system works. Stories come and go, the comments are generally good, and moderation doesn't always do what we wish, but nothing else really compares to the results. If occasionally something looks questionable people will question it, just as always.

It can be alarming how sophisticated some haters can be, but frankly I haven't seen anything here that even deserves your response. It's good to clear the air, but anyway, I wouldn't worry about it.

If you want a project, think about an interesting way to reorganize, prefilter and/or score story submissions...

Maybe I'm new around here... (5, Insightful)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435839)

... but it seems to me that people complain far more often about advertisements thinly disguised as stories than they do about lots of submissions coming from the same user(s).

Re:Maybe I'm new around here... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435900)

A press release about something tech related might be advertising, but its been submitted for the consumption of us.
We are consumers and we buy stuff, whats wrong with knowing when a new product has been released?

Its not like we are bombarded with press releases for sanitary towels or other womans crap - its all tech related.

Re:Maybe I'm new around here... (4, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435973)

Slashdot could do with a fair bit of editorial rearrangement for new products or services.

Make a 'new products' category to stick all those 'This is cool, but it sounds like Logitech paid for the ad' stories. Similar for new services. If a company is cool or scary enough to rate its own story section on slashdot, then you can post under those categories... Like for google. Otherwise, let users filter them out.

Mix It Up!!! (4, Interesting)

ferrellcat (691126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435841)

Are you seriously trying to say that Beatles_Beatles was the only guy so submitted all of those stories? I would be VERY surprised if this were the case. If you get one story from 50 submitters, what's the point of going to the same submitter time and time again? Give the rest of us a chance.

Re:Mix It Up!!! (4, Informative)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435873)

You'd be seriously surprised. I think you guys are underestimating the number of quality submissions we get. We might get 50 submissions to a breaking news piece, but something even SLIGHTLY more obscure may arrive only once.

So you may be seriously surprised... but it's true. When someone submits 15 different URLs in 3 days, they are going to be the only submittor for 2 or 3 of them.

Re:Mix It Up!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435905)

We might get 50 submissions to a breaking news piece, but something even SLIGHTLY more obscure may arrive only once.

So lie? Treat it like a 50-submission story and write your own summary, something like
Many users submitted this link to a story reporting...
even if he was the only one.

Re:Mix It Up!!! (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435914)

If it's the same story, who cares where it comes from? Not really worth getting upset about, is it?

Re:Mix It Up!!! (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435950)

Part of it is quality of submission. You and I can post the same URL, but if mine says 'd00d! OMG!!11! r0x0r!' and yours is intelligible, they should pick yours. That is an extreme example, but it isn't just the link, it's also the presentation.

Slashdot Editors (0, Troll)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435846)

Yikes, if this is the quality of an editor submission, no wonder Roland, Scuttlemonkey and Beatles Beatles get their submissions accepted. :/

I think people just want to see some quality out of Slashdot, instead of dumping everything onto the main page. And yes, your job as editor is to edit the submission, not to just accept it as is and fix URLs.

Re:Slashdot Editors (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435887)

Yikes, if this is the quality of an editor submission, no wonder Roland, Scuttlemonkey and Beatles Beatles get their submissions accepted. :/
Just an FYI, ScuttleMonkey isn't a submiter, he is a slashdot editor, IE one of the people who accepts or rejects stories!

Re:Slashdot Editors (1)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435952)

Whoa...nevermind then! I'm an editor as well, obviously not on the same scale as Slashdot, but for a mid-sized organization. We have a corporate intranet site that anyone can submit articles too and my job is to edit the submissions for posting and then post them. It's not a terribly difficult job, and correcting spelling, grammar, verifying URLs and removing inflammatory material is part of the job.

Hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435847)

What should I do with a good submission from a reader with a reputation?

Maybe telling them to only submit stuff under a different username for the next 3 months. What we don't know can't hurt you.

Solution (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435849)

I'm going to go create a web site in which all users can vote on the stories and everyone can see the submission queue. You'll be able to leave comments on everything, even the ads! The site will look like Slashdot but will have this cool blue look to it that makes it look like Slashdot with a very bland Mac OS X theme applied.

I just hope we don't fall into a hole of elitist navel-gazing, making so little on ads (since everyone uses AdBlock) that we have to be powered by the company we rebelled against. That would suck.


Longterm reader's thoughts (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435853)

Background. I'm a registered user posting (quasi) anonymously. I have been
around Slashdot since "Chips and Dips". I used to be a valinux or some
other variant of the name volunteer developer, which has become OSDN.

Should part of this process be checking the URL of the submitter to make
sure that it is legitimate?

Why not?

Does that really matter?

I'm a sticker for details, and "illegitamate" URLs or 404s bother me.

Should we add a nofollow tag to those URLs?

I don't see why not since you added the nofollow on signatures. I
thought Slashdot did the same with user's posts, but I just checked and
they don't. I guess the next time I want to do a googlebomb without the
constraint of 120 character signatures, I know what to append at the end
of my posts.

I don't know what the queue for stories looks like, but I doubt it would
be too dificult to avoid a * *Beatles Beatles goon with other stories.
Especially when we gripe about it (see below).

Suggestions for Slashdot:

- option to randomize the top of a threads. Now there is by newest and
oldest first, but I believe that if the randomize option were there and
used, it would allow for more deep threads than the 90% of the ones that
jump on early posts to get closer to the top of the charts and the 10%
that get tacked onto those that view by newest first. I also hate when
I write a long, researched, post and it gets too few eyeballs because I
did not opt for the quick fix at the top of the list.

- stop the dupes. I seriously do not believe that copying and pasting
the subject or keywords into google with takes more
than 10 seconds, or at least for me. Over 90% of the time I do it, the
first link is the dupe.

- listen to us more. I hate to say it, but Slashdot is more our site
than "yours". We submit the stories, we have almost every piece of
content on the site. Yes, Slashdot does provide great software to view
the stories and a known hotspot for us geeks. Being that slashcode is
open, in theory a new and better Slashdot could happen at any time with
little difference in the look and feel of the site. The reason this has
not happened yet, because we are reasonably happy with each other here
and the progress of the slashcode to date.

Kudos to Slashdot for:

- friends/foes/fans/freaks. Although I'm slightly dislexic between
friends and fans and foes and freaks, the ability to use these to filter
out at least the free iPod people is invaluable. My signal to noise
ratio is pretty high now. Sometimes I feel like foeing a friend or a
friend of a friend just because they post too much, even though I like
a good amount of what they say, they then to pop out of threads too
much for my tastes, but it would be very complex to fix such a minor

- staying cheap for subscribers, and being one of the top sites on the

But they also have an agenda (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435856)

It's not hard to figure out what sorts of stories Slashdot likes. We have a format, and a subject matter.
But slashdot also has an agenda, and it's real easy to see. Linus and/or Jobs sneezes and it makes the front page, but interesting tech articles can get rejected because they either go against the slashdot agenda or don't mention it at all.
A guarenteed way to get your story selected by ask slashdot is to append the words "open source" on the end even if open source has nothing whatsoever to do with your submission. I'm not bashing open source, but it's not the end all be all of technology. Not sure how to improve it, but this "news" site is hardly unbiased...

Wow, everything but the real reason (1, Flamebait)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435860)

And I'm sure "TacoCmdr" logged into World of Warcraft all day has nothing to do with it... right...

The sort of stories Slashdot likes? (-1, Offtopic)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435861)

It's not hard to figure out what sorts of stories Slashdot likes

Dupes, mainly?

foul! (1, Funny)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435862)

this story was just an ad for slashdot!

digg yourself (5, Interesting)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435863)

create a /. staging area, where us, the real users, can rate stories, and let us decide what makes it to the front page... The the RPs and BBs of the world will only show up when their linkback page is actually relevent and useful...

Re:digg yourself (-1, Troll)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435965)


I made a post a while back about slashdot stealing stories from a few days later I had my posting privs suspended for more than 2 months.. the reason they said? I was posting too many things that had been modded down. After checking my history of posts, 1 item out of a few hundred was modded below 0.

Link to the original article (4, Interesting)

dannytaggart (835766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435865)

Why not simply link to the original article, instead of these cut-and-paste pages?

I think... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435866)

...that the bigger problem comes from the perception that other people are submitting the same stories without the thin blog-to-attract-ad-hits wrapper, and having it rejected. Certainly people claim this in many of the Beatles-Beatles and Piquepaille threads. This generates the perception that only the "favoured few" submitters can have story submissions accepted, whether this is true or not.

A quick check to see if the link is substantive, or just a wrapper link around someone else's content to get ad money, or if someone submitted a link to the real content before someone with a wrapper page? Maybe that would help...

I'm sure there's a legitimate reason, but I'll ask (2, Interesting)

Vicsun (812730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435867)

Why is it that only Timothy posts Roland stories and only Scuttlemonkey posts Beatles stories?

Submissions (2, Interesting)

couch_warrior (718752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435871)

I have half-heartedly submitted a dozen or so articles to /. - none of which have been accepted. My favorite topic, of course, is the danger of X-rays emitted by spark plugs. (See how I snuck that in) Any chance of there ever being a "Guide to writing acceptable articles for slashdot" that gives detailed advice on DOs and DONTs??? Just thought I'd ask.

simple (5, Insightful)

lubricated (49106) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435875)

be more transparent. There are alot of things you could to help your cause. Showing rejected story list may be nice. I trully doubt only one user posted that story. If it's true that he was the only one to catch it then if people knew it they might be more ok with it.
That's one way to be more transparent, you may have to be creative to think of others.

One more thing.
Denying that what happened was suspicious is calling your community stupid.
Also try having the editors perticipate in a conversation about them and directly answer some of the comments(not sure if this hasn't happened, but it didn't when I was looking at it.).

Add some information about the submitter (1)

OldAndSlow (528779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435876)

Specifically, what percentage of their submissions get accepted. You might have to add some code to retain submission stats, but it should quiet the conspiracy buffs ... oh, wait, they'll just say you faked the number.

nofollow (1)

shareme (897587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435877)

By tossing the contribution from problem users you free up problems as the story will obviously get submitted again by a non problem user.. But I do understand its a hard choice to make and puts you into accepting tasks that you might not be prepared to accept..

What about duplicates? (1)

zrk (64468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435881)

Don't you guys check your own archives before posting something that you've already posted, and are now "passing it off" as new?

Don't you index your stories?

I'm not trying to be hostile, and I do really appreciate Slashdot. I'm more curious because it seems to generate genuine hostility amongst some of your readers.

No bother, I just stopped Submitting (5, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435884)

I put some of what I consider quality in my Submissions. They get posted on K5 everytime. But at /. , it appears the editors aren't very careful readers, and quantity matters.

Since I'm not willing to grind out quantity, I just stop submitting.

squash it (1)

sfaudio (944683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435888)

Editorial control is just that. If someone is posting boring material then it shouldn't be posted. Slashdot usually manages to keep things fairly fresh in the face of what could be incredibly boring content considering the wealth of source material on the internet. If someone is getting to the "whiny baby" stage posting to Slashdot perhaps they need to find another outlet ... I hear this "blogging" thing might catch on some day. ;)

Ask us again (4, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435889)

The most critical thing I can see is that these type of questions aren't asked that often. I would like to see a once per week, or at a minimum once per month, question from the editors like, "how are we doing, what changes, etc." It doesn't mean you have to implement them, but we'd like to know that you at least halfway care what the readers think. When you take out a story from someone with a rep, that can be considered censorship, so print that pig and watch the fur + mod points fly. That's what the internet is for. However, you can go out of your way to make sure that people starting to earn a bad rep get steered clear of that, by telling them early and often when things are going south. If they continue to be jerks, or post ad after ad, that's when it's time to step in. The New York Times doesn't run ads masquerading as articles. I'm not saying this is the NYT, but you can understand our frustration as readers to click a link and get an online store.

Re:Ask us again (3, Insightful)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435934)

This is something i'm going to try to do more often. It's just very hard to keep up with it. I'm going to have to spend many hours replying to comments and e-mails based on this story. The Slashdot system is good for many many discussions, but not so strong when *I* am the single lynchpin, and people use email, IM, and the forum system to communicate with me.

Simple solution (5, Insightful)

wampus (1932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435893)

Make the link point to the user's slashdot profile page.

Caps (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435895)

Cap the submission number. Or the number of stories accepted. If these guys are submitting 100k stories and 3 or 4 get through evry day, they are basically spamming the system. Should that be rewarded? Alternatively, wait five minutes. Someone else is bound to post the same story.

Re:Caps (3, Insightful)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435910)

The "Waiting 5 minutes" is simply not true in many many many cases.

Screw 'em Taco (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435896)

Seriously, since when have you ever let trolls dictate policy here? I know we give you a lot of shit but this is still one of the most popular and informative tech sites around. It doesn't seem to me that this problem is any more serious than "You bowed to Microsoft/Scientologists" or "OMGSignal11WTF???!?". I mean hell, even if you went all the way and switched to user-chosen stories people would still find a reason to bitch about editors using dupe accounts to influence voting or some shit like that.

The pressure of running a big website (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435899)

Over the years, I've always had my articles rejected. Over time I started to notice days of the week and times of the day that articles were few and far between. I also noticed that each editor had their own likes and dislikes. The last two articles I submitted were the first two I had ever had accepted.

I do believe that guys like Beatles Beatles found a way to try to "beat the system" but I don't think it is a conspiracy. If the editors wanted to abuse slashdot's pagerank, they have dozens of other ways to do it. Slashdot has to be an incredible amount of work for these guys. I post some edgy responses on occasion, and I get a ton of e-mail for it (which I appreciate). I can't imagine how much feedback the editors get and how they get through it on a daily basis. There are days that I feel like hiring someone just to get through e-mail, and I doubt the editors get paid (if they do, it can't be much).

That being said, I think we do need to see some new stats up for submittions. If you submitted 10 in a row with no acceptance, I think it is fine to keep that private. How about printing the acceptance percentage of the currently accepted post, based on how many submittals were not accepted since the last one. If you get an article accepted, and then you get 99 that don't, and finally the 100th gets accepted, you have a 1% acceptance rate for that particular message (and your future acceptance rate would be set back to zero until your next acceptance). That way, guys like Beatles Beatles would likely have really low rates (as he seems to spam the editor at the right time with the right style of story).

Also, how about if slashdot regurgitates some stores (instead of rejected and pending and accepted you can add a fourth one -- hold) that will be held up to 6 hours and resubmitted automatically, if the original editor puts it on hold and the new editor finds no good submissions (11pm).

Thank You (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435901)

As a side note, I'm really going to try to write more articles addressing Slashdot matters on to Slashdot.

Thank you. Please do try and address current Slashdot issues. As soon as you started asking for subscriptions, this moved beyond being just your personal weblog of stuff you found interesting. I'm not willing to pay money for CmdrTaco and friend's blog. I need to think there's value in the subscription, and right now, I just don't see it. If you're willing to address problems that people see with the site, then maybe, eventually, I will.

(On the other hand, I'm one of the apparently few Slashdotters who doesn't block ads. I just uses Flashblock, which strips the annoying ones, and see anything else. So far the only ads that have actually been interesting are ThinkGeek ones, but, hey. So I'm not a complete leech. :))

So, thank you for taking the time to address Slashdot. At the very least, I appreciate it.

Re:Thank You (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435955)

And on the subject of silly conspiracy theories...

I just uses Flashblock

Anyone else think that the Preview window has a built-in quality checker that corrects silly grammar and spelling mistakes, just so that you'll accidently post them and only notice when the post goes final? I'd swear the preview pane intelligently fixes silly mistakes. :)

Re: What should I do (2, Insightful)

lantenon (867508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435904)

What should I do?

You should no-follow the links to submitter's pages, every time. They still get their "creds", in that the slashdot user base still gets a link to their page. They can profit from this link by slashdot users hitting their ads. They also don't get bumps up from pagerank, profiting from a googlebot sending more people their way who didn't find them through slashdot, word of mouth, or an individual linking them. And finally, it's got the added benefit of destroying the temptation to consistently bitch about submission system abuses for the benefit of raising pagerank.

Judge This (0, Offtopic)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435909)

Those URLs are what you get for submitting a story to Slashdot. We selected it. The submission braved the Gauntlet. A hundred submissions died, and this one made the cut. I don't think it's fair that we strip creds from someone just because they choose to squander that URL on something stupid. Who am I to judge that after all?

Pffft. Your submission doesn't even have a URL. Jeez, what kind of self respecting geek doesn't have some sort of web site they can link to these days.

stay the course (1, Redundant)

kryzx (178628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435912)

Keep doing what you are doing. It will work itself out. Just post the best submissions you get. Good is good, regardless of the source. We the readers are smart enough to figure this stuff out. And the moderators will tire of the OT ramblings and squash them. It's a good system.

Stripping Attribution (4, Insightful)

sparkhead (589134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435913)

"I could strip attribution and take away incentive for a user to submit. "

If their incentive to submit is attribution, they shouldn't be submitting.

Take for example. The submitters get no recognition (on the main part of the site) when an article is greenlit. They may chime in the thread with comments, but other than that, nothing. And they get a counter in their profile on how many articles they've gotten greenlit.

Their incentive for submitting is an interesting story that's funny and may spark discussion.

While the humor angle isn't applicable for the most part here, the discussion part is. Submit something because you think it's interesting, you think your fellow nerds will think it's interesting, and it will generate an interesting discussion.

Submitting just to gain attribution is the wrong reason to do it.

Hmm.. Clearly.. (1)

Sauron79 (830293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435919)

.. there weren't any important stories to file till Jobs' keynote right? And this aint a conspiracy theory..

The reward for having a story accepted... (4, Insightful)

pnuema (523776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435921) not getting to place a link to the site of your chosing. The reward for having a story accepted is to have a story accepted. If you are submitting stories for any other reason, then your motivation is wrong. Add the no follow tag, and end the debate for good.

Roland (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435923)

The reason I can't stand Roland is because his postings suck. They "feel" like they're trying to get me to click the link to his blog and I don't like that feeling. His posts are closer to ads for his blog than summaries of the relevant stories. Which brings me to my second complaint:

Slashads, which seem to be getting through at a more regular rate. Again, I don't want to be advertised to by the story submission (especially when that person is not paying /. for the privilege).

A couple of suggestions: first, every article about a product needs to have at least two links. One to the product and a second to an un-biased review of the product. A link to the product alone is a Slashad for the product and a link to the review alone is a Slashad for the review site. Only once an article has a few links does it get away from the Slashad realm and into the useful realm.

Second, to put it bluntly, the editors need to do their jobs. I would much rather see a few high quality stories than many useless ones. Taco said it himself, if the submission bin is empty, a story has a greater chance of being accepted. No! Good stories should be accepted and bad stories rejected. Period. End of line. It is the editor's job to find the good stories, fix the links, and check the grammar (!).

That Anonymous Coward guy.. (1)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435924)

For the longest time I believed that Anonymous Coward was a real user. And THAT guy used to get under my skin on a regular basis.

Then one day I posted anonmously- for the first time.


Thanks for discussing this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435931)

Now the motivation for getting a Slashdot story accepted ... is a return link to the website of your choosing. Your creds. Your 'Reward' for sharing a cool URL with a half a million Slashdot readers.

How many article submitters consider this important? I can imagine the possibility that regular users submit an occasional story just because they think it's interesting and the kind of thing they'd want to read about on this site, without caring about a reward. The people who do care about getting return links are the people who will be "spamming the bin with a submission about everything" - that creates more work for the editors, and it annoys readers (because it's not 'stuff we (the community) think matters', it's 'stuff someone thinks the editors will accept'). I don't think we mind seeing a lot of submissions from one person, as long as they're not trying to unfairly manipulate the system for their own gain.

If that's the case, then adding nofollow to the submitter's link (for all submissions, since nothing else would be fair) will remove the spammers' incentive, while not deterring people who are submitting stories for their interest. (And don't include links in the summary which point to the submitter's personal site if they haven't added any value to the original news source.)

Of course, if most interesting stories are only submitted because of the return links, then that won't work at all. Does anybody know whether this is the case?

Irony (1)

JourneyExpertApe (906162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435932)

In Roland's case, he likes to link to his personal blog where he writes mediocre summaries of stories that add nothing to the original.

What idiot would want to read a blog with mediocre summaries to stories that add nothing to the original? Oh, wait... Maybe he should start doing what /. does and just copy the first paragraph of the article and call it a summary.

Comments? (1)

TheBrownShow (454945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435933)

Does it actually matter what happens in the comments section? I'd be interested in knowing what percentage of regular Slashdot readers actually read the comments, and further, what percentage read the comments at a threshold other than 4 or 5?

I visit Slashdot 2 or 3 times a day, and very rarely do I actually read the comments of a story.

It's all about the PageRank (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435938)

... and what they do with it.

I thought the hue and cry after Roland Piquepaille was unnecessary. So he was trying to drive traffic to his blog and maybe become known as some kind of net pundit. That, it seemed to me, was fair enough. Isn't that essentially what we're all doing, sounding off here on the topic of the day?

But this Beatles guy isn't doing that. He's using his links back from /. to drive up the PageRank of his link farm, with the apparent overall aim of trying to push spam sites up Google, for money. This, as far as I and, it seems, a large number of /.'ers are concerned, is not fair play. It simply isn't cricket, and we don't like to see our community effectively supporting spam.

That's what gets me upset about **Beatles-Beatles, that didn't worry me about Roland. This kind of link farming and search engine spamming spoils the net for all of us, and a major geek centre like this one should be firmly against that.

Oh come on, Rob... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435939)

It's your site. If you don't like it, change how things are done and change the tone of the site.

You set this up to be this way, and encouraged certain behaviors and such by the content you run. And then you're upset just because YOU then happen to be the target of some of that same paranoid behavior you've encouraged?

Woe is you, you have a popular wesbite you've made lots of money off of, and some people question or don't like you sometimes. Boo-hoo.

YOU of all people have the power to change something with this site if you don't like it. If you don't like how the paranoid-delusional Slashdolts are acting, you can change it. And if you make excuses that you don't want to do this or that because this or that reason, and trying to be a perfect, benevolent ruler, then that's your problem, not anyone else's. Right now , lowest common denom-- intellect rules. That's been encouraged rather than discouraged.

So either shape up your readers and posters, or just deal with the monster you've created.

Have confidence in what you're doing. (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435940)

If Slashdot wasn't working the way most of us wanted it it wouldn't have the huge success it has. If your editorial style wasn't generally liked we wouldn't be here. There will always be whingers and whiners, malcontents and wreckers. The best thing to do with them is ignore them.

It might not do any harm to institute a filter which automatically added 'nofollow' to all links in submissions.

Submissions (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435941)

In my /. lifetime, little over a year, I have submitted maybe 3 stories, that I thought were /. worthy, of the 3 one was accepted. Now going by the rationale that certain users get selected more based on "slash-cred" mine would not have been accepted. I think the editors do the best they can with what they have. You guys must see so many submissions daily that the average /.joe/jane would have their head explode.

My opinion, if you want to have a story posted to /. submit something relevant and thougt provoking. Submitting something to ensure a flame war in the forums isn't the way to go.

I think the editors are doing a hell of a job, even you Zonk.

Well.. (2, Insightful)

bugbeak (711163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435944)

The editors are only human. Maybe if you hired more people to screen articles and provide feedback instead or along with the subscribers?

Errr ... hang on, you actually /edit/ submissions? (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435945)

I've never noticed this before.

Sorry. I see lots of stories with oddly linked articles, text ripped from the article, or linking to a meta-article. I'd say this happened between 25% and 50% of the time.

I think that Slashdot needs to aggregate submissions. E.g., if there are 10 submissions regarding the FX60 processor, each with a different link, then make a single story linking to all of the sites, mention all of the people who submitted it (or the first one) and flesh it out a bit.

Make it look like you at least read the links.

And hey, having some more content of your own wouldn't hurt either. Besides the book and game reviews.

Even just attaching a longer opinion piece or editorial piece to a story.

Link is missing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435953)

Sheesh Taco. The least you could do is bother to post the link...

A clear policy (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435959)

If you think the beef that people bring up in the comments in legitimate, then you need a clear policy prohibiting such abuses from submitters. Hopefully the submitters will change what they do, or this policy can give you abilty to change the submission/links to fit your new guidelines.

If you don't think that the beef people have is legitamate, then you've got a problem. Since this is largely a community run websight (the content is largely the forums, and the moderation is done by the community, too), you can't really force the websight to run at odds with the way such a large part of the community wants it to. You can perhaps nudge it with clear policies, but expect troubles if a lot of people strongly disagree.

It's All About Roland Isn't It? (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435961)

Interesting the name Roland should come up. That was the first name I thought of when I saw the headline. Roland Piquepaille should just retire his name and change it to something else like say Serdar Argic. [] Of course Roland is no Serdar. After all Wikipedia nuked Roland's entry. []

Duplicate articles (0, Offtopic)

55555 Manbabies! (861806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435977)

Maybe you should discuss why you publish duplicate articles all of the time.

Nofollow Karma (5, Insightful)

Milo Fungus (232863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435978)

Why not make the "nofollow" a matter of karma? Those with por karma have a nofollow added to their link, just as their comments are started at score 0 or -1.

You could even get tricky and make a separate karma just for story submission, with some sort of moderation system. This moderation could be done by the editors themselves, or it could be opened up to the readership. I've read dozens of comments over the years where the submitter wished they could moderate the story. Perhaps it's time to add that functionality to slashcode.

Keep posting what you want. (1)

davidu (18) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435979)

I don't even look at who submitted it. Same with Digg -- It's the content, stupid. :-)

That said -- you were slashdot, even CowboyNeal was -- and we all shared your editorial taste. Now you have others making the majority of the choices and, well, their choices aren't always as good. In other words, you sucked less.


Same thing you do with "unpresentable" stories. (4, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435984)

Just replace the article text. Leave the attribution and attribution link (under the nickname, rarely followed by users) but rewrite the summary and skip the middleman, linking directly to the article. So Roland posts in his blog a piece of some other site and links to it. Write "[Roland] wrote about [this cool site], which is about..." instead of "[Roland] wrote: I've put a short blurb [in my blog] about that cool site..." He gets the nickname attribution link. Not all the slashdot effect hits.

Stop worrying too much. (1)

chrome (3506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14435988)

Taco, dude, stop worry about the 'quality' of discussions.

It really doesn't matter.

At the end of the day, moderation can't be expected to keep discussions on topic. The best you can expect is that it will filter out the absolute worst of the cesspool - the ones who post the classic posts that are just offensive and only people who are new to /. think are funny - you know the posts I mean.

The rest of the crap that gets posted but not moderated off my screen, I ignore. Most of the time. If I ever post on the unrelated crap, it is usually because I am bored and either a) the story that was posted bores me or b) i felt like it.

There is no rhyme or reason. Most of the people who make a big deal out of submitters etc are just bored and have nothing better to do than come up with conspiracy theories.

So. I repeat. Stop worrying about it. It doesn't really matter.

I can't believe you got worked up enough to actually spend time writing a rant about this. Jesus. You should be used to this shit by now and should be able to just tune it out.

Again. Stop worrying about it. It doesn't matter.
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