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Rob Malda Answers Your Questions

Roblimo posted more than 5 years ago | from the pants-are-still-optional-but-not-for-you dept.

221

Last week hundreds of you posted questions for Slashdot's CmdrTaco, AKA Rob Malda. Today we present his answers to 10 of the highest-moderated questions. CT: You can continue to sign up for 10 year anniversary parties but we're already working on shipping shirts so you won't be able to get a care package... but you can still try to run for the big grand prize by just taking videos of pictures or just doing something cool at your parties to prove that we should have been there.

1) Question: Trends (Score:5, Interesting) by vinn (4370)

You've probably followed more news stories and trends over the past decade than just about anyone else.

Based on that, what are your predictions for the next 10 years?

Some technology is obviously going to die a quick and painful death. Some of that technology will be good and some deservedly bad. What's going to catch on? What has staying power? Google has been a golden child the last few years, will that continue? Are there any big turnarounds coming? Who's got good stuff in the pipeline? Don't you dare tell me 2008 is the year of Linux (and I know you won't) - we've both been hearing that marketing crap for the past 10 years.

CmdrTaco:

I don't think I have a particularly unique perspective on these matters. We all read the same Slashdot. What we'll see is mostly obvious: Smaller, Faster, More Portable, More lawsuits, less individual rights. The year of Linux is long passed. Linux will have a strong position on the server for a long time, but as GNOME and KDE bickered with each other, Apple came along and gave the world a great desktop UNIX. It's sad, but true, and there's a huge lesson to learn there. It'll be interesting to see how long Google will be the golden boy- that just can't last forever, can it? I just hope that when the future gets here, we still have the right to copy our own data, and take apart and hack our own gadgets.

2) Have you any regrets? (Score:5, Interesting) by cOdEgUru (181536)

Have you ever regretted starting Slashdot, or investing so much of your time into this site? Did any actions by your peers, by the community or by your colleagues, as a result of a story posted on Slashdot or related to one, made you ever regret your decision to start Slashdot.

CmdrTaco:

Sure. Running Slashdot under the umbrella of a publicly traded company is a huge challenge. A company is a beast that must always eat more... and some people think that making a number for this quarter is so important that it means sacrificing ideals that might hurt you next quarter. Like if I put 15 ads on the page tomorrow, we'd make a lot of money for 3 days and then most of you would leave, and so we'd have great revenue for a week and then no revenue ever again.

So, much of my job is making decisions and fighting with other people at the company to make sure that there still is a Slashdot worth reading next year and the year after that. And advertisers would simply like to buy stories... now, contrary to what conspiracy theorists accuse us of, we don't sell stories. And it quite honestly hurts me when people accuse us of it. But it's scary to know that some folks in the company would be quite happy to do it, completely selling out the integrity of the site to get a bonus. I guess thats a big part of why I stay here: I think Slashdot matters and at least when I'm here I can try to keep it on the path.

3) In and out of Slashdot. (Score:5, Interesting) by pavon (30274)

These are probably pretty cliche questions, but I am interested in the answers.

What is a normal day at slashdot like? How much time do you spend improving slashcode vs picking stories vs the normal computer admin tasks vs other stuff. How are the workload/responsibilities split up among the different staff members? How has this changes over the years?

I also remember back in the old days, the work you did with Enlightenment, as well as the animated short you made (Duckpins?). I was wondering if you get the chance to do much programing outside of slashcode, or what other hobbies you spend your free time doing now (besides being married).

CmdrTaco:

I have a couple of different jobs. One is posting stories- on a day where that is my primary responsibility, I might get in at 7:30 a.m. and read submissions and post them until early afternoon. During this time I might reject a few hundred submissions, post a half dozen stories, and of course try to keep up on my email. Beyond that, I have a number of meetings (a monthly author meeting, a weekly coder meeting, and countless random other meetings for marketing/sales/etc.). I always have chat windows open with various members of the company discussing whatever projects are outstanding.

It's not that different from when we started, except that 10 years ago I would have a terminal window open with code, now I have a chat window open with coders, and 10 years ago I would post stories, and today I have a chat window opened to a group of people who can all post stories.

I read every story posted. I read discussions when the subject matter is particularly interesting. But after that, I make sure that everyone is working on the right stuff, and that things work the way I want them t o work.

These days my time for hobbies are limited, but when I have time I play video games or just goof around with software or hardware. Pretty much all of my free time is consumed by Zachary, the currently 12 lb. terror that exploded out of Kathleen last August. He's awesome.

4) Okay, I'll bite (Score:5, Interesting) by Skyshadow (508)

Something I've been sort of curious about for ages:

Can you talk a little about how you experienced some of the dotcom insanity, specifically as it unfolded here at Slashdot? For a while, it seemed like Slashdot was about to become wunderkind central -- the sale to VA, the infamous ESR post about uber-wealth, etc. I'd be interested to hear about how that experience translated from your side of the ball.

CmdrTaco:

I was seriously buffered from most of the dot com boom. I lived in Nowhere, Michigan so I only saw it when I went to SFO or NYC or Boston for a tradeshow or a meeting. It wasn't until it disappeared that I realized how big it was, and then only by absence: to go to an office building and see row after row of empty cubicles... it was sad.

Slashdot didn't change that much during that era. We added a few writers and a few coders. We bought a few new servers, but even today we run a very lean operation on the production side of the site. Basically 2-3 coders and 2-3 writers replaced me working 20 hour days.

As for the ESR post, I found it very embarassing. I'm of the Gen-X/Grunge era. I cling tightly to my flannel shirt and would never publicly make such a boastful post. Even today, I hate marketing Slashdot. I dislike doing press for Slashdot. I've always felt that if we do a good job, people will read, and there's no reason to hype the site. This is anathema to corporate life, which is why we do things like the 10-year anniversary thing. The only reason we're doing it is that I really felt that after 10 whole years it was worth a bit of reflection.

Personally, the bubble made it possible for me to own my own home at a time in my life when most people my age were living in 1-bedroom roach motels, or worse, with their parents. I'm thankful for that. But when the bubble burst, it took with it my dreams of having a private jet or something, and I was left with a job that pays really well doing something I like.

When the bubble burst I learned a lot and realized that I had made a number of mistakes a long the way. Lessons learned, I guess. It would have been nice to have zillions of dollars, but there are other things that are more important.

5) Silly Question (Score:5, Interesting) by LiquidCoooled (634315)

I assume that through the ether you have met Kevin Rose, but do you two get along or is it pistols at dawn?

CmdrTaco:

Yeah, I met him when I did an interview on some TV show I guess he was hosting. He seems like a sincere guy, and I have no problem with him.

People love to paint rivalries between Slashdot and whatever website they think we are battling at the moment, but I really resist the urge to compare Slashdot to sites like Digg. We do different things and serve different audiences. There's crossover to be sure, but to shoot a guy in low sunlight seems kinda silly.

6) What is this crazy tags thing? (Score:5, Interesting) by Reality Master 101 (179095)

Considering the FAQ hasn't been updated in almost a year, could you explain exactly what tags do these days? At one time, it seemed to be a vote-based system, now I have no idea how tags show up on articles. Frankly, since I didn't understand it and my tags didn't seem to affect anything, I gave up on using the feature.

Could we get a definitive answer to how tags work?

CmdrTaco:

I don't know exactly how 'Definitive' this is... but 'tags' is just an experimental system for us. We're using it for ideas on how we could improve moderation and firehose ratings. We're using it to see what ways people will try to screw with the system. Tags are very open-ended and are therefore used for many things. People use them for opinions, abuse, classification, and sometimes just as an attempt at wit. The system can be all of those things, but when we see abuse we definitely try to stop that.

Basically the way tags work is that you add words that you think are cool. If many people tag similarly, those tags appear on the articles. You can use tags to be informative (a tag like 'slashdot' on this story would make sense since I'm talking about Slashdot) or to provide helpful feedback to editors ('dupe' or 'typo' for example). It's very open ended, and as long as your tags are beneficial to others, we like seeing them.

I don't want to narrowly define tags, either: Sometimes a silly witty tag rises to the top. It may reflect an opinion or a joke, but thats ok as long as it's not mean. At the end of the day, we're learning a lot from how people use tags- knowledge that we're using to make firehose better, and ultimately to make moderation better.

Under the hood, we've actually ported moderation to tags... so now we can more easily expand moderation to incorporate aspects of tagging. The issue here is that we have 2 major differences between moderation and tags: moderation has a very limited domain of tags, and you are very limited in how much/how often you can moderate. So we can't simply flip a switch and use tagging instead of moderation, but many of the tools and rules overlap nicely. Personally I think it's probably the most interesting aspect of what we're playing with on the site. We're not doing tags like anyone else, and I think that's what is fun about it.

7) Most-visited sites.. (Score:5, Interesting) by B5_geek (638928)

What "Top-5" websites are in your daily/hourly must-read rotation? (Not counting RSS)

CmdrTaco:

I only really read the internet via the firehose and via RSS, so I guess I can't really answer this question. I think that if you read Slashdot's firehose, you don't really need to read any other tech news publications since it will contain the best of all those other websites. So the sites that I read beyond the direct Slashdot subject matter tend to be comedy websites or comics... these days Penny Arcade and XKCD are my favorite comics although my feed has a dozen more. Also things like Cute Overload or College Humor. If it's tech news, the firehose has it covered... but if it's funny, well I need to work to get that.

8) Thoughts of giving up? (Score:5, Interesting) by martyb (196687)

When were you most tempted to give up?

Dealing with a bunch of creative, resourceful, tenacious, stubborn, and sometimes outright hostile nerds, I'm sure there were MANY times when you were tempted to just give up on the whole thing. e.g. page-widening trolls; Church of Scientology; Microsoft source code, or even the release of slash code to the community and the barrage of insults.

I'm really glad you held on and persevered, but I'd like to know why.

CmdrTaco:

When the shitty days come, I really wonder why I do it. Hate mail in my inbox. Flame in the forums. DDoS attacks. Sales/Marketing pressuring us to do something stupid. Or the more standard stuff that goes along with being part of a company- paperwork and bureaucracy etc.

I can usually handle the user problems... I've come to understand that if you do anything successful you will create some percentage of fans... and as a subset of fans, you get anti-fans. On one level it's flattering: This is a person so passionate about your work that he will spend hours trashing you in any forum possible. It's crazy... it can really hurt if you let it, and sometimes it does.

I've pondered leaving many times over the years but I always come back to wanting to make this thing work. I really like Slashdot and think it's a better site with me here than away. I can't imagine what others would do to it if I left!

The thing is that every now and then we do something important. Like really important. We break a story, or house a discussion that changes a mind. I think that we serve an important role on-line. We're a pub where people gather to talk about the days events, and I think this has tremendous value. I think I still am here because there's a community here that I like. And besides, it beats flipping burgers.

9) Infrastructure (Score:5, Interesting) by blhack (921171)

Can you give us any insight into the hardware/platform that slashdot runs on? How many servers does it use? What did you code it in? (a half drunk, coked-up deaf guy screaming HTML into a tin can on a string?) How much bandwidth does it use?

I know this is more than one question, but my MAIN question is just: "What does it take to run slashdot, hardware/software/bandwidth wise?"

CmdrTaco:

We'll actually have a lengthy discussion of exactly this before the 10-year anniversary stuff is done. But in short, we're talking about a dozen dual CPU web-heads, 4 quad CPU mega database boxes. We share bandwidth with SourceForge, so we don't use much bandwidth... Slashdot doesn't host video or many pictures so we're fairly cheap. The code is all at www.slashcode.com so you can download it and play with it for yourself. It's all Perl/Apache.

10) What are the biggest threats to /. success? (Score:5, Interesting) by rjamestaylor (117847)

Slashdot is successful by any measure. You've certainly pioneered many things we now take for granted. Many "slashdot killers" have been attempted and failed or found a different niche. What are the biggest threats to /. success today and going forward?

CmdrTaco:

I think the single biggest threat to Slashdot is for us to try to be something we're not. We are NOT CNet. We are not Digg. We are not Wired. We are not Reddit.

Those sites have many things that define them... from the source of content to the method of content selection, to the sorts of business partnerships and types and quantity of advertising on each of those sites, each has a sort of place, and Slashdot isn't exactly any of those things.

The future success of Slashdot depends on us understanding what Slashdot was for the last 10 years and how to continue to be that in the future. The names change, but the fundamental underlying joy of technology shouldn't.

We need to know who you guys are, and what you want, and try to give you what you want in a website, but without selling out what Slashdot has been. We have a decade of legacy now... our single biggest threat is to ignore our past and try to be whatever is popular today... but that's not to say we can't change.

We need to incorporate many of these popular ajax/web2.0 technologies and ideas- our readers deserve the improved browsing experience. But it's a careful balance between taking what is good about what is available today, and blending it with what has worked about Slashdot throughout our history.

It's a mistake for us to want to be CNN or the Wall Street Journal or to spend our days chasing after Digg, or Reddit, or Kuro5hin, or whatever site follows them. We strike our own path. We'll never be the #1 traffic destination on the net, but we're still regularly a great website, and one that I'm proud to continue to be part of.

-- Pants are Optional

cancel ×

221 comments

"Threat" response (5, Insightful)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956825)

Our single biggest threat is to ignore our past and try to be whatever is popular today
AND

We'll never be the #1 traffic destination on the net, but we're still regularly a great website, and one that I'm proud to continue to be part of.
These answers definitely satisfy me. I'll be around, too...even with the preposition-ending sentences, etc. :-)

Prepositions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957053)

Don't you like preposition-ending sentences [metrolingua.com] ?

Re:"Threat" response (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957059)

These answers definitely satisfy me. I'll be around, too...even with the preposition-ending sentences, etc. :-)
Ending sentences with a preposition is an outrage up with which we will not put.

And I sure hope Slashdot will be around for another ten, at least. I'll be here.

Rob who? Who is this guy? (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957307)

Is he one of the ops here or something? Never heard of him.

Nah, I'm just kiddin...way to go Taco!

Re:"Threat" response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957999)

...even with the preposition-ending sentences, etc.
I'm tired of the prescriptivist notion that prepositions can't end sentences. English isn't Latin. In Latin, prepositions were paired with their object by explicitly combining the two into one word. That's not the case in English. The notion that English should imitate Latin in that respect ignores the fact that it results in much more awkward sentence structure, as so brilliantly evidenced by the oft-quoted Winston Churchill line.

Quite often, when grammar is concerned, people tend to ignore the fact that there is often a quite valid descriptivist point of view in deference to a nonsensical prescriptivist doctrine. To me, the ending-sentences-with-a-preposition issue seems like the most valid of those cases.

Re:"Threat" response (3, Funny)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958075)

"This is the sort of English up with which I will not put." --Churchhill (apocryphal)

CmdrTaco is a huge fat bastard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20959083)

Unworthy of any respect.

He never answered the most pressing question: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20959087)

Why is he so fat and lame?

Robbie Malda is not worthy of any respect (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20959091)

He's a tubby little dictator whose whims have ruined the potential for greatness that once existed at this site.

Mod me down all you want, but look at the evidence and you'll see it's true.

He didn't answer my question. (5, Funny)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956833)

So I'll ask again:

Since you were part of the Internet boom of the late 90s, you're obviously worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So:

What's your favorite jet?

Which supermodel is the best in bed?

I really need to know because I have no life and I need to vicariously live through famous people.

Re:He didn't answer my question. (5, Funny)

sgant (178166) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957355)

Actually, he's beyond that. He skipped the supermodel dating and the jets and all that and went straight to the weird Howard Hughes era.

I picture him shuffling into the Slashdot control center wearing a bathrobe and slippers and posting a few items that of course are all dupes before Zonk or someone else catches him, slaps his hand, then leads him back to his room.

Re:He didn't answer my question. (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957397)

He skipped the supermodel dating and the jets and all that and went straight to the weird Howard Hughes era.

Yeah, but, with those long fingernails, how does he use a keyboard?

Re:He didn't answer my question. (1)

spiderbitendeath (577712) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957627)

Are you kidding? He's from Michigan, he'd go the Henry Ford route. He'll shuffle in from a long trip, see the brand new product/code they want to surprise him with, he'll proceed to destroy it and anyone that had anything to do with it. Just to show that he is still in control, that it's still his baby.

Re:He didn't answer my question. (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958113)

Are you kidding? He's from Michigan, he'd go the Henry Ford route. He'll shuffle in from a long trip, see the brand new product/code they want to surprise him with, he'll proceed to destroy it and anyone that had anything to do with it. Just to show that he is still in control, that it's still his baby.

Could you provide a link to the Henry Ford story this was based on?

Re:He didn't answer my question. (1)

mstahl (701501) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957913)

I need to vicariously live through famous people.

Then maybe you should set your sights a little higher?

I have no life

Oh.... My bad.

E486: Pattern not found: topicus.gif (-1, Troll)

krahli (556957) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956835)

He didn't answer my question.

Question: what was the "infamous ESR post"? (4, Interesting)

sharp-bang (311928) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956873)

Hopefully something silly about the New Economy. I need a good laugh.

"Surprised by Wealth" (5, Informative)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956973)

http://interviews.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=99/12/10/0821224 [slashdot.org]

At least from my perspective, this one post almost completely destroyed his influence in the community. There's an object lesson in there someplace.

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957097)

Did the bubble pop before he could cash in?

(bubble burst before cash-in?) Yes and No (3, Informative)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957775)

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=LNUX&a=11&b=9&c=1999&d=05&e=9&f=2000&g=d
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:LNUX

Six months from the ipo would've been around june of 2000, certainly after the peak of the NASDAQ (you can see the decline in the prices above). Still, $36 per share is better than the $3 per share it is now. For simplicity assuming the shares were given to him for $0 and he paid no taxes on them once sold and had transaction costs of $0 and that he sold them all as soon as he could (wise given a $240->$36 drop in six months), that would mean clearing $5,400,000 off of his 150k share allotment. Still nothing to sneeze at, but not the absurd valuation he mentions in his post. After removing all the simplifying assumptions, lord only knows. Less than $5M, probably more than $0. ;)

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957901)

According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, if he held on tight to his shares he still scored almost a million. Of course I don't know what the tax ramifications of the initial high stock price were.

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958005)

Of course I don't know what the tax ramifications of the initial high stock price were.
Zip. You pay taxes on gain from sale of assets. No sale == no gain.

Of course, I've always suspected that one reason for the precipitous drop in price of that stock was that people like ESR were unloading their shares for whatever they could get. I'm sure what he got for the shares he sold was much more than the price low, and much less than $300 :)

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958061)

According to the article he had to hold onto them for at least 6 months after the IPO. I wonder what the price per share was by that point.

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958477)

It dropped down to 45 cents/share at about that point.

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957929)

I never bothered to check the actual length of the LNUX lock-in, but even if it was on the short end his shares were likely worth less than 50% of what they were when he wrote his story.

If it was a 180 day lock or longer they were down to around $30 (from over $200) by the time he could sell.

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958055)

Did the bubble pop before he could cash in?


Before I answer your question, I'll add some context from ESR's original article (emphasis is mine):

The first part of my answer is "I'll do nothing, until next June". Because I'm a VA board member, under SEC regulations there's a six-month lockout on the shares (a regulation designed to keep people from floating bogus offerings, cashing out, and skipping to Argentina before the share price crashes). So it's not strictly true that I'm wealthy right now. I will be wealthy in six months, unless VA or the U.S. economy craters before then. I'll bet on VA; I'm not so sure about the U.S. economy :-).


Pause for laughter......... Done? Let's move on....

The day ESR's rant was written, VA opened at $266 a share. Pretty impressive, no? By the end of the day, it was worth $218. For his claimed 150,000 shares, that's just shy of $40 million. In just a few hours, he'd "lost" $7.2 million.

Fast forward 6 months to the time he was able to legally sell it, and we discover the definition of hubris [marketwatch.com] .

Assuming he cashed out his entire portfolio out the first day possible (which I doubt he did), he would have made a "paltry" $5.1 million.

Continuing the trend, you soon discover that you'd actually need a logarithmic plot to properly visualize the rate of VA's demise [marketwatch.com] from a high-end server manufacturer into a company that makes a halfway-decent frontend for CVS (and Slashdot). To give an idea of how much of a disaster it was, I should point out that logarithmic plots aren't typically used in the financial industry.

Assuming he never cashed out at all, today he'd have just shy of $400,000 in VA stock.

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (3, Informative)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958607)

Actually, logarithmic plots are often used in finance. The scale accurately portrays the effects of compounding. Only problem they are usually used on the way up...

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#20959055)

I think the word you're looking for is "exponential."

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

sharp-bang (311928) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957155)

Ah yes, now I remember reading this back then and wanting my five minutes back. Now, it's even funnier. Thanks for the memories!

Re:"Surprised by Wealth" (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958695)

At least from my perspective, this one post almost completely destroyed his influence in the community.
Why?

Re:Question: what was the "infamous ESR post"? (4, Informative)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957205)

Here ya go, ESR's "musings on sudden wealth" after VA Linux's IPO at the end of 1999:

http://interviews.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=99/12/10/0821224 [slashdot.org]

I remember reading that when it was first posted, and yes it's much more amusing now. From the Wikipedia entry on VA Linux:

VA Software is notable because of its IPO on December 9, 1999. The shares for the IPO were offered at $30, but the traders held back the opening trade until the offers hit $299. LNUX later popped up to $320, and closed their first day of trading at $239.25, a 698% return. However, this high-flying success was short-lived, and within a year the stock was selling at well below the initial offer price, in a classic example of the dot-com stock market bubble. As of 2005, this is still the most "successful" IPO of all time. The stock price reached an intra-day nadir of 54 cents on July 24, 2002. It then soared more than 1000% to an intra-day high of $6.38 on September 11, 2003. As of November 26, 2006, the stock closed at $4.64.

Thanks for the answer, TacoMan (4, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956929)

It would have been nice to have zillions of dollars, but there are other things that are more important.

"Money can't buy happiness, but somehow it's more comfortable crying in a Porsche than a Hyundai."

Interesting to read that the Slashdot editor felt disconnected from the Dotcom thing... When I was living in Wisconsin, honestly hanging around this site and reading the posts people were making is part of the reason I was so eager to move out to the Bay Area (wish I could have picked a better time; July 2000 turned out to be kind of rough). I suppose I just figured that being here at, well, wunderkind central, it would have been like being plugged directly into the horse's mouth (or potentially the other end).

Guess it's just more proof that Your Mileage, lifewise, May Vary.

Re:Thanks for the answer, TacoMan (1)

sbchasin (625427) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957135)

"Money can't buy happiness, but somehow it's more comfortable crying in a Porsche than a Hyundai."

My Hyundai is quite comfortable.

Re:Thanks for the answer, TacoMan (2, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957889)

"Money can't buy happiness, but somehow it's more comfortable crying in a Porsche than a Hyundai."

My Hyundai is quite comfortable.

Next...try the Porsche. Very nice....and is still comfy taking a sharp turn at 60mph+ without braking.

:-)

Money may not buy happiness (debatable), but, it sure makes misery a whole lot easier to live with.....

Re:Thanks for the answer, TacoMan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20958307)

My Porsche is quite comfortable, and has a little gadget to dry your tears for you.

Another thank you (5, Interesting)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957603)

I'm assuming you'll read this entire thread (I've done it both times I did ask me anything, so I'm pretty sure it's a geek thing) so rather than hope I make my way through the 'tubes into your inbox, I'll say it here: Thank you for Slashdot. Thank you for all the work and soul and energy and life you've put into this website and the community that it's created. Thank you for nurturing that community.

I say this for two reasons: As a low-level geek who has always felt like the dumbest one in the room, I've learned a ton here about hardware, open source software and philosophy, and the culture surrounding the technology I love so much. Slashdot has educated and inspired me, and that wouldn't have happened if you and the rest of your team didn't work so hard to make this community one worth participating in. I've been to all the popular community news sites, and Slashdot and Fark are the only ones where it's consistently worth my time to read and add to the comments.

My second reason is far more personal: When I started my blog, when I desperately wanted to speak for myself and let the people who wanted me to die.die.die know that we were more alike than not, Slashdot gave me the chance to speak directly to them, twice. Slashdot gave me an opportunity to replace the perception of who I was with the reality of who I really am, in a way that was usually reserved for people who were a lot more popular and well-known than me. I saw Zonk at PAX, and told him this, but you should hear it, as well: without those Slashdot interviews, I wouldn't be where I am today, both professionally and personally. I am enjoying the second act that F. Scott Fitzgerald said we Americans don't get to have in our lives -- instead of just being a guy who "used to be" an actor, I'm also a guy who "currently is" a writer -- and even though I don't think any of us knew it at the time, Slashdot played a huge part in making it happen.

So thank you, Rob, for sticking with it when it sucks, and not letting it go to your head when it's great. Slashdot means more to a lot of us than just a place to read news for nerds. It really is stuff that matters. Congratulations on ten years of awesome.

Re:Another thank you (1)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958769)

I am enjoying the second act that F. Scott Fitzgerald said we Americans don't get to have in our lives -- instead of just being a guy who "used to be" an actor, I'm also a guy who "currently is" a writer -- and even though I don't think any of us knew it at the time, Slashdot played a huge part in making it happen.
Definitely. I ended up buying a copy of Just a Geek [amazon.com] due to those Slashdot interviews, and your general participation in various Slashdot discussions. I'm sure others did too.

Re:Another thank you (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958869)

I'm assuming you'll read this entire thread (I've done it both times I did ask me anything, so I'm pretty sure it's a geek thing) so rather than hope I make my way through the 'tubes into your inbox

Based on that, I have to ask, since it didn't make it into the interview:

How long will pants remain optional? And why do you recommend them for me?

Re:Another thank you (1)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958971)

The above is an awesome comment. I was gonna send Rob a thank-you note as well, but you've pretty much summed it all up for me.

Re:Thanks for the answer, TacoMan (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957633)

"Money can't buy happiness..."

That may be true, but it can buy a jet ski and have you ever seen anyone frowning on a jet ski?

Re:Thanks for the answer, TacoMan (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958027)

no, but i've seen people in ABJECT TERROR. that might've been the velociraptors though.

Oh dear. (3, Funny)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956937)

I fear the reference to "things at cool parties you should have been to" is going to solicit at least several photos of someone's junk.

Re:Oh dear. (2, Funny)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958245)

Is that computer junk, or the more dangly kind of junk? Just don't make it both, please.

Thanks. (2, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 5 years ago | (#20956967)

Thanks for answering all of that. The one I'm really looking forward to is the hardware article, whenever you get to it.

Re:Thanks. (1)

jfmiller (119037) | more than 5 years ago | (#20959093)

No, You are not. I am however more interested how the 'webserver with database back-end' thing works for a site with this much load -- that is what have you done besides just through hardware at the problem.

That last one is SO dead on... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957025)

Never try to be what you ain't. No matter if something else takes off and soars. Chances are it's just the usual FOTM (or year), the hype will go and then you have neither attracted any of their audience (why go to the copy when you can have the original?) nor will your old audience be there anymore, because they were with you not despite but because you're not that other FOTM site/company/game/application/younameit.

Time and again it's been shown that things go from bad to worse when you try to imitate. Whether you take search engines that try to imitate Google or MMORPGs trying to imitate WoW, all they accomplished was to lose rather than gain audience.

Looking forwards to another 10 years of /.

Re:That last one is SO dead on... (4, Insightful)

gangien (151940) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957207)

I agree, I was glad when I read this line

I think the single biggest threat to Slashdot is for us to try to be something we're not. We are NOT CNet. We are not Digg. We are not Wired. We are not Reddit.

I hope /. never becomes them either.

videos of picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957035)

do we really need to make a video of our pictures or can we submit pictures themselves?

He probably shouldn't have said that. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957085)

People use them for opinions, abuse, classification, and sometimes just as an attempt at wit. The system can be all of those things, but when we see abuse we definitely try to stop that.
Ehrg. I personally wouldn't have accepted responsibility for policing that tags. People frequently troll in the tags, and some are often left standing in such a manner as to reflect certain biases and slant the discussion one way or another.

Take for example, the recent story on using TCMS to provoke feelings of religious awe tagged with "nosuchthingasgod" or other more offensive tags (which *have* been removed).

Re:He probably shouldn't have said that. (3, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957297)

I don't much find "nosuchthingasgod" offensive, but I have a hard time believing any significant number of people actually tagged it that way. So Taco, coders, editors (hey, I guess I have faith in something after all), please do us a favor: whatever clever thing you're doing with tags that makes it other than a sheer "most tagged" metric, please just stop it. It's not working. Really, it isn't. Your doing tags "different" is making tags very much broken.

Re:He probably shouldn't have said that. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20958235)

The "nosuchthingasgod" seemed like a troll to me. But you must remember that atheism (well religion hating) has become a popular attribute to this demographic. Look at all the Richard Dawkins dross that hits digg regularly. So it's entirely possible that this tag was a popular one. I think that there is a handful of people who work at deskjobs at a company that hit refresh on Slashdot, so they could be gaming tags as well.

Re:He probably shouldn't have said that. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20958601)

But you must remember that atheism (well intolerance to invisible-man believers)

There, fixed that for you.

Hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

TheLastUser (550621) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957107)

I don't really have any comment and I didn't read the article, but I just thought this might be my lucky day to be in the first 10 posts. here goes nothing...

Re:Hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

TheLastUser (550621) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957153)

shit.

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957183)

You failed, Mr. 11 [photobucket.com] .

and nothing it is (0, Offtopic)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957313)

we now have a reference benchmark, folks! woo!

About Tags (2, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957233)

Thanks for the answer (and question) about tags. I've often seen the sig (I forget which user it is) that tells people how tags should be used, (they are for searching, not for giving opinions, apparently), and I've always thought that was the wrong way to look at it.

But it isn't the done thing to comment on .sigs, and anyway, it wasn't that important.

But since the subject is raises, I really like what Slashdot, (and the Slashdot readers) do with tags. I like humour of many of the tags; I like being able to look at a story and see - not "what I'm supposed to think" as someone once suggested - but because they give a quick insight into how the readers as a whole view the story. And I like the way that tag use is still evolving here; I like that we're being creative with the channel.

Anyway, I just thought I'd offer some positive feedback on the subject.

Re:About Tags (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957619)

My opinion about tags (based on how they are used on other sites) is to link like objects. For instance, if I wanted to read all the articles that were about "slashdot", I could use the "slashdot" tag as a way to find them.

Using the tag "yes" and "no" is pretty worthless in my book. Those tags just allow me to search for articles that had yes or no questions in them. And often, the article is tagged with both "yes" and "no" (and sometimes "maybe"). Worthless!

Re:About Tags (3, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957853)

mmm.... but isn't the whole Web 2.0 (dubious term, I know) idea that users get to feed their input back into the system in unexpected and creative ways? I mean, Slashdot already has a search function, and a "meta" category for Slashdot related stories.

Using the tag "yes" and "no" is pretty worthless in my book.

Of course, if you wanted to do research into which subjects has proven most controversial on /. over a given time period, you could always search for articles tagged both "yes" and "no". Hard to see how anyone would get a reasonable metric for that, otherwise.

That said, I don't tend to use tags for searching, at least not on Slashdot, anyway. But really, if you control the tags too much, you just wind up with a parallel set of keyword/section labels. I think it's much more interesting to leave it to the community and watch how they use them.

Tags are a summary of the discussion (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958449)

I don't care about how tags are used in other placed. In /. I use them as a very condensed summary of the discussion. And the yes and no tags are quite useful for that. If only one of them appears, it usually represent the community consensus. If both appear, it shows that the community is divided on the issue.

The tags has become less useful lately though. Don't know why.

kdawson (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957257)

As I'm sure most of us knew it would be, despite the fact that it was rated 5, the question as to why kdawson was kept on as a moderator despite the constant low quality of his work and the barrage of complaints against him was completely ignored.

I myself was quite irritated to see that this was the case, and I hope that the attention that this question received in the original request for questions post has brought this issue to a greater light amongst /. staff. Hopefully, in the months to come, kdawson's work will improve, and if not, I will be very annoyed that this was not addressed by Rob.

(Posted anonymously because I saw what happened to the anti-kdawson posts to which I'm referring, which seemed awfully suspicious to me.)

Re:kdawson (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958491)

Posted anonymously because I saw what happened to the anti-kdawson posts to which I'm referring, which seemed awfully suspicious to me

Vee are miles from vhere anyvone can hear you scream. At least anyone who cares!

Muahahahahahaha

Ummmm... Wha? (2, Funny)

Soko (17987) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957279)

Pretty much all of my free time is consumed by Zachary, the currently 12 lb. terror that exploded out of Kathleen last August. He's awesome.

o_O

Hopefully Zachary isn't 3 feet long with a rather elongated head [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Ummmm... Wha? (1)

archen (447353) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957585)

Sometimes you wonder what the difference is...

Re:Ummmm... Wha? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958675)

I'm more worried about the little one's health. 14 months old and only 12 pounds!??!

Mebbe Comandante Taco meant "this past August". A 2-month-old can quite reasonably weigh 12 pounds.

Comics (4, Interesting)

trip11 (160832) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957405)

Rob, You talked about how XKCD and other comics are high up on your list of external websites to go to. Could I make the recomendation that you add them to the 'Funnies' slashbox? It seems to have been years since any links have been added (though maybe I'm the only one left who still uses it....) If you put your favorite webcomics onto it, I know I'd like to check out what you like. And if I can add my own $0.02 http://www.xkcd.com/ [xkcd.com] , http://schlockmercenary.com/ [schlockmercenary.com] , and http://www.phdcomics.com/ [phdcomics.com] are all 'geek' enough they would do well on the funnies slashbox.

Re:Comics (1)

polaris878 (716143) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957793)

I 2nd this suggestion, a comics section would be pretty sweet IMO

Re:Comics (2)

trip11 (160832) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958043)

Just so you're aware. There already IS a comics section, it's just become rather out of date IMHO. In you're preferences you can look at the slashboxes and there's one called "funnies" and one for "webcomics". Add them and they'll show up on your front page just like any other slashbox.

Re:Comics (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958141)

I'll second that. It never ceases to amaze me how unknown Schlock Mercenary seems to be in the wider geek world.

Re:Comics (1)

YodaYid (1049908) | more than 5 years ago | (#20959069)

I highly recommend PBF Comics [pbfcomics.com] . There are lots of comics that are funny - few that are brilliant. (I picked a very funny one pretty much at random. Also, not all the comics are SFW...)

Thanks, Taco! (1)

ezh (707373) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957423)

Hopefully /. will see the day Zachary will rule here... That said, /. needs constant intake of fresh blood, otherwise it will become stagnant and eventually vanish. People like to see their opinion counted, not just on comments. And to get this fresh blood one might need to change 10 year old concepts...

Re:Thanks, Taco! (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958997)

I guess that would make him Lt. Burrito?

hawk

shooting (1)

monkeySauce (562927) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957463)

There's crossover to be sure, but to shoot a guy in low sunlight seems kinda silly.

So... pistols at high noon then?

kdawson (again) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957631)

(Surprise, surprise. I posted this once and almost immediately it got modded down -1 Troll. Flamebait, maybe, but how it is a troll, I'm not sure. I think it's a valid statement and concern.)

As I'm sure most of us knew it would be, despite the fact that it was rated 5, the question as to why kdawson was kept on as a moderator despite the constant low quality of his work and the barrage of complaints against him was completely ignored.

I myself was quite irritated to see that this was the case, and I hope that the attention that this question received in the original request for questions post has brought this issue to a greater light amongst /. staff. Hopefully, in the months to come, kdawson's work will improve, and if not, I will be very annoyed that this was not addressed by Rob.

(Posted anonymously because I saw what happened to the anti-kdawson posts to which I'm referring, which seemed awfully suspicious to me.)

Exploded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957663)

Pretty much all of my free time is consumed by Zachary, the currently 12 lb. terror that exploded out of Kathleen last August.

Oh, wow. I'm really sorry she exploded. Good luck with your xenomorph problem.

TFA (0)

rasherbuyer (225625) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957673)

Could someone precis TFA, I couldn't be arsed to read it...

I can't believe I read the whole thing (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957721)

That was a really long article! how many people actually read it in it's entirety?

Re:I can't believe I read the whole thing (1)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958175)

You must be new here.

Back to the old format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20957757)

I hope so. The new layout with only 25 comments at a time was too restrictive. With a 500 comment story, I certainly wasn't going to press Next 20 times.

Spot on! (1)

rudiger3d (668351) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957873)

The year of Linux is long passed. Linux will have a strong position on the server for a long time, but as GNOME and KDE bickered with each other, Apple came along and gave the world a great desktop UNIX.

After I started studying CS in 2000 and having never tried Linux/Unix I toyed around with Desktop Linux for a couple of years. I tried 8-10 different distros, even paid for Xandros 2.0 (this was before Ubuntu was all the rage). And for while I was kinda satisfied.

Then my friend tried a Cube for a couple of months and wholeheartedly recommended OS X, people started raving about OS X on slashdot, and in 2004 I bought a PowerBook on which I am writing this... and I never looked back.

chasing after kuro5hin?? (1)

Pike (52876) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957883)

did cmdrtaco really just talk about /. "chasing after...kuro5hin", even in a theoretical sense?? that is bizarre. who'da thunk.

Re:chasing after kuro5hin?? (4, Informative)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958173)

I seem to remember, back around 2000ish, a lot of non-US Slashdotters bitching that Slashdot was too US-centric and didn't cover enough international stories... After the sellout to Andover/VA, people complained that it was too corporate and that the editors and story selection sucked. The "solution" was Kuro5hin where you could vote on the stories, pick what went to the front page, etc. Quite a few Slashdotters seemed to have dual-citizenship, if you will. It had a lot of hype for a while and even Slashdot covered stories about K5. I remember K5 getting DDOSed and VA donating a new server for them.

For a while they were pretty successful, but eventually, the flames burned out. I stopped visiting sometime back in 2001 or so when the site became overly political and have checked in on it a few times a year since. It seems pretty dead these days. Slashdot started becoming pretty partisan about the same time (with nearly every story having to have at least one comment about how Bush stole the election), but it was more in check since users weren't decided what stories everyone got to see. The advent of the politics section and the hiring of a particular editor has Slashdot pushing it in the same direction. I left Slashdot for a while last year but decided I wasn't going to let one editor ruin a site, one I've visted for nearly a decade, for me.

As we say in NY... (1)

J4 (449) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957903)

Mazel Tov!

The 10 years really snuck up on me but it's really good to know that one can indeed make their own niche in the world
and do it with integrity.
To me, it sounds to like you're richer than mere money can make a man.

Thanks Rob (4, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957975)

Just want to say thanks for holding out and keeping Slashdot great. It's my one must check site, even after all this time. I open my email, and I open Slashdot. "S" autocompletes to "Slashdot" in my Safari address bar.

I apologize if this is too warm and fuzzy, but Slashdot is definitely one of the greatest online communities. We still love to complain about the idiocy of Slashdot discussions, but I think this was just because we didn't know what 1000+ people discussions looked like. Now, thanks to so many other sites showing just how bad it can be, I feel I can safely say that Slashdot (when you read +3 and above) is a beacon of reason, penetrating insight, and great wit. I've learned a lot on Slashdot over the years, not as much as on Wikipedia, but probably more than any other single site. And though it is a narrow segment of the population, I still have my ideas intelligently challenged regularly by what I read here. And I think that is a great thing.

Okay, enough :)

Re:Thanks Rob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20958703)

You need to be careful there son. If Rob were to stop quickly, your entire head would get lodged up his ass. Smart people, like subscribers, know that the safe distance to maintain while brown nosing the editors is 12-15".

The more you know...

Best Slashdotting (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 5 years ago | (#20957985)

Dang. I was hoping he'd answer the 'what site are you most proud of slashdotting' question.

Still many unanswered questions ... (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958013)

This CowboyNeal chap for example. Is he a real person or concocted mascot like Betty Crocker or Mavis Beacon Typing Tutor?

Re:Still many unanswered questions ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20958799)

"This CowboyNeal chap for example. Is he a real person..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Pater [wikipedia.org]

Re:Still many unanswered questions ... (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 5 years ago | (#20959029)

Neither. He's Aunt Jemimah's love child (and a bit slow). . .

hawk

first post? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20958111)

Open platform, thisf exploitation,

I take exception to something here... (2, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958253)

First let me say that I realize that Taco and crew have put something solid together here but...

CmdrTaco: you don't really need to read any other tech news publications since it will contain the best of all those other websites.

Uh, bullshit? While I obviously have hung out here and posted a ton of stuff over the years, Slashdot simply is not a "best of the tech web" site.

Slashdot is fine for getting a the big tech news on the web in short order but most of us have long outgrown that. I consider Slashdot to be more the Discovery Channel of the web: If you have a mild interest in something it's great but once you get past the surface there's no meat for someone who wants to advance their knowledge on a certain subject. For example: I mostly read a lot of the astronomy stuff because it's a minor interest of mine, almost a hobby. Most of the stories I find here are good reading and sometimes I come into some new information but when I want to read a bit more into it I simply can't do that here. I have to go to the more specialised websites to do that. I don't know if others feel the same.

And that sad part of all of it is that reading the comments is even worse. I see tons of posts modded +5 Informative or Insightful and a reply 15 minutes later points out why the post is plainly wrong yet the correct post stays at a 0-2 mod. The more of these that I see and double check the facts myself the more I see erroneous information getting passed off around here with the validation of the moderation system. It gets even worse in the stories that often boil down to flame wars. Having a +5 Informative on a post that reads "[Bill Gates/RIAA/Linux/NASA/insert...] is teh fucktard!!!!oneoneone!!!" shows that something has gone wrong. By all means, have your opinion of it but it's just so easy to get modded up by taking a side instead of passing on fresh information or at least an explanation of your opinion.

Sorry, Rob, it's happened before (2, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958413)

"Personally, the bubble made it possible for me to own my own home at a time in my life when most people my age were living in 1-bedroom roach motels, or worse, with their parents. I'm thankful for that. But when the bubble burst, it took with it my dreams of having a private jet or something, and I was left with a job that pays really well doing something I like."

I remember reading a story long ago about one of the guys who left Atari to form Activision. At the start of the story he was going through the planning for his megahouse with indoor basketball court etc. He was a multimillionaire on paper because of his ownership share of Activision, but he couldn't sell his stock until a certain amount of time had passed. Then the video game crash occurred and he watched the value of his stock drop and drop and drop. At each point he had to scale down his plans. Finally he realized that he was going to have to work for a living after all.

This story resonated with my friends and I because we too were victims of the video game crash although we were never in any danger of becoming rich.

So sorry, Rob, it's just a matter of luck and timing.

But what I've wondered for years is . . . (1)

Anomalous Cowbird (539168) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958541)

"Cmdr" . . . is that "Commander" or "Commodore"?

CmdrTaco +1 insightful (2, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958559)

I am too far into reading but, Answer 2 is a very insightful answer, it sums up a lot of the problems with corporations now. And should be in a FAQ about what's wrong with many publicly traded companies.

Though I think his response to the 10 year question is premature, Apple may be hot, but it's still a closed system and as a long time Mac person and a newer Linux person am finding more frustrations with OSX buggyness (on a technical level) than with Linux. I think in the long term ,if not addressed, their limited cross-platform compatibility will kill Apple.

Back to reading...

Spot on about Gnome and KDE (0, Offtopic)

bogie (31020) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958597)

I was angry at Gnome for a long time. Mostly because it sucked horribly for 5+ years but also because of how everyone freaked about about the initial KDE license issue. I was so happy to be using KDE after suffering under horrible featureless WMs. Then came the bickering and divisions. It all got very old waiting around for the Linux desktop to mature and eventually many of us left for Windows 2000/XP and OS X.

Realizing that this is all obviously IMHO and comes from my own narrow view, I really do think that Linux would have been better off if everyone had just standardized on KDE long ago.

Eric - we salute you (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958795)

With Slashdot celebrating its ten year anneversary, Rob Malda (a college student at the time of his creating the Dot) has granted an interview. Malda is your rather typically bright sort, hence the interview being modest and reasoned. A fairly sincere geek, the fellow was eventually working on Slashdot for 20 hours per day, but still managed to graduate and not develop any addiction to stimulants apart from the usual caffeine/taurine drinks. Thus he is well respected.

---

But it wasn't the case for everyone in the deal! Slashdot was acquired in a big cash offer by VA Linux in early 2000. This firm is a good representation of the hope and hopelessness of boom and bust economics - and here is what the subject title refers to: The VA executive Eric S. Raymond's personal wealth rocketed to about $36 million after a stock offering.

However investors simply weren't hard-headed enough to accept a software firm with about 100 employees, chairs and desks as one of the big boys; the lack of assets further encouraged the stock to bomb hilariously over a period of a few months. This interview is a typical megalomaniac boss's thinly veiled attempt at flaunting himself. I point to this, laugh at it (and it is very funny to read), and like many know there's a quiet lesson to be learnt. Something like an ultra-modern "pride before the fall".

Here's a gem from the classically notorious 1999 post:

---- "Assuming the economy does not in fact crater, how is wealth going to affect my life in six months? Honestly, I think the answer is "not much". I haven't spent the last fifteen years doing the open-source for the money. I'm already living pretty much exactly the way I want to, doing the work that matters to me. The biggest difference the money will make to me personally is that now I should be able to keep doing what I love for the rest of my life without worrying about money ever again.

So I expect I'll just keep on as I've been doing. Hacking code. Thinking and spreading subversive thoughts. Traveling and giving talks. Writing papers. Poking various evil empires a good one in the eye whenever I get a chance. Working for freedom." ----

The man is a walking mishmash of contradictions. He implores others to keep wealth quiet to avoid sycophants and cadgers; and makes a public post about his newfound millions made from...er...what was it again that merited all those millions? The fellow is brazen, ignorant, boastful, and a laughing stock - now more than ever. The post was sneered at by people either too wise or too jealous to see things from his end properly, and he rightly gained an economic comeuppance. On the one hand he wants to be seen as a glorious crusader "working for freedom" - he comes across as a prissy egoist quietly planning how to secrete his tenuous wealth. To sum up - a wanker. Classic.

One question to rule them all (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 5 years ago | (#20958859)

There's one thing that I just can't get out of my mind... it's the same question that goes for professional coffee samplers - what do they do on their coffee breaks ?

What do the /. employees do when they feel like surfing to a great tech news site with insightful comments instead of working for half an hour or so ? ?

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