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History of Slashdot Part 3- Going Corporate

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the are-we-sick-of-this-yet dept.

126

When we last left off we were in early 1999- Slashdot had a small business behind it, known as Blockstackers Intergalactic. But we knew that we would need real infrastructure to handle the ever increasing traffic and needs of our readers as well as our employees. A number of suitors approached us with deal of varying sizes and shapes, and we settled on one nobody had never heard of: Andover. (As a reminder don't forget to get your charity bid up ... some items are still reasonably priced! But the EFF always needs cash!)

Nobody had ever heard of Andover, and from our perspective, that was kind of the point. We had talked to companies that sold Linux distributions as well as a number of web network type organizations, but at the end of the day, we decided that we had to go with someone that would guarantee us editorial independence, and not create serious conflicts of interest by forcing us to favor some particular distribution. Likewise we didn't want to get into a situation where we were 'just part of a network' using all our stories to plug other network sites. Andover was not really a Linux company, so we were able to get a deal that met our needs.

I vividly remember the day we closed the deal. We went to some law firm high up in a huge skyscraper in Boston. Hemos & I signed papers lined from one end of a conference table to the other, along with Bruce (the pres of Andover). After that we went to the boston aquarium for a bit, and went out to dinner with the entire Andover staff at some seafood place that apparently is well known but I'm not a boston person so I don't really know what it was. I remember wanting to just read my email and being incredibly uncomfortable the whole time. I've never been a good person dealing with meatspace crowds. I was on the verge of panic the whole night. I had scallops and tried to smile and be polite when I just wanted to hide in the corner. I've still never really dealt with my ability to deal with crowds.

Following the sale, I found out what it meant to work for a large company. I joined the board of directors of Andover, but soon after realized that corporate boards are probably not the best place for me to spend my time. During that time we hired Jamie, Timothy, Michael and the company hired Pudge, Wes, and a number of other folks who initially worked for other parts of the company, but later came to work for Slashdot. Also we were able to give a paycheck to people who had, up until this point volunteering for Slashdot. Among them was Jon Katz who continued to write for us for a number of years until he decided it was time to write about dogs instead.

Besides an HR department, health insurance, 401k, and that other stuff, having a large corporate backer made a number of things possible. We actually migrated from just 2 boxes to like a half dozen. We chewed through a number of load balancing techniques and were able to scale up from a half a million to multiple million daily page views. We spent literally years getting by on minimal hardware. We spent years optimizing the code, adding layer after layer of caching. I still have mixed feelings on this matter. Had the corporate overlords given us a dozen machines, we could have been free to write a lot of new user features during that time. But instead we used the same database for nearly 5 years.

For me the biggest transition was offloading tasks to other people. With people on payroll, I was able to finally have engineers working on things instead of me doing most everything by myself. It took several years before I trusted the staff enough to take away my own CVS access, a decision that is really necessary. For years I was (fairly) mocked by Slashdot readers for my terrible way of developing code- I'd just write the code live on the site. When it worked, I'd just overwrite the old code live with almost no testing. On several occasions a typo resulted in a hundred emails in my box with readers reporting that Slashdot was no longer compiling. Under the corporate umbrella there was CVS committing, rollbacks, and scheduled deployment of code. I still get impatient with all this overhead to this day, but I know everyone prefers it this way. It's better, but it's definitely less 'Fun'.

Around this time a box arrived on our doorstep containing a bunch of glasses and t-shirts. They were unusual because they were clever and of good quality. When you do this long enough you really can tell when you're getting garbage, and when the people behind the work are smart and clever. The website was ThinkGeek. I brought them to Andover and pushed to have us acquire them. I shoulda got a commission off that deal... now they have like 30 employees and do millions of dollars in business. Most of the people that started the thing are still there (just like Slashdot!) and they are still doing great things (also just like Slashdot!) I still feel a strange connection to ThinkGeek... I think of them as my younger sibling... except that while I sit in the back of the class or maybe play on the chess team, they are starters in all the sports teams and get straight A's.

My first, last, and hopefully only ever COMDEX was in Las Vegas (although I went to Vegas countless times since for fun- NYC, Las Vegas and Tokyo are the 3 cities I love to visit). We had a crazy booth. It was absolutely huge, with bean bags and a plasma TV. ThinkGeek had this little niche in the corner. We had nerf guns. We had a install race- VA gave us a few machines, and we had people race to install Linux distributions on them. Patrick Volkerding. himself represented Slackware, and his machine had a faulty CD drive. It was hysterical watching him come in last. Some (shall remain nameless) distribution had a booth across the aisle from us, and speakers that were inappropriately loud. They would have constant presentations that were deafening throughout the conference hall. So we hooked up our own speakers and starting yelling at them and telling them their distribution sucked and making fun of their catch phrases... after you'd heard the speech 50x, it was pretty easy to mock. At least it was a distro nobody liked in the first place. My punishment for my bad behavior was catching the worst flu of my life. For some reason we flew into chicago, a 3 hour drive home. CowboyNeal and I were both on the verge of passing out, hallucinating with flu, singing at the top of our lungs just to say conscious.

Looking back, I think it interesting that the moment in my life where I most experienced the excesses of the dot com boom was followed by probably the single most terrible bouts of illness of my adult life. Kathleen took care of me for days as I couldn't leave the bed.

Along the way Andover went public in a dutch auction style IPO. I don't have much to say about it except that I think it was the right thing to do, even if long-term it didn't much work out for me personally nearly as well as I had dreamed at the time. No personal jet. No military style compound. But a nice house isn't a bad way to start off your adult life.

Just as I was getting used to flying to boston regularly for board meetings (and racking up crazy frequent flier mile status in the process, getting nearly constant first class upgrades) the 'Merger' between VA & Andover came along. I wasn't surprised when it happened, and at the time there was a lot that made sense. VA had SourceForge (and we had the competing Server 51 project) as well as Linux.com. There was a fairly intense rivalry between a number of people at the companies, although I never really felt it. The bubble that Slashdot has always tried to stay inside has insulated from corporate politics- something that is usually true today as well. I knew the contract we signed guaranteed me the editorial control Slashdot needed regardless of ownership, and I was confident enough in the leadership of VA that I would not have problems with people trying to wreck the site.

Of course all of this happened during the bubble burst where we all went from thinking we would retire by 30 to realizing that we might be broke and jobless within a year. I'm still amazed that Slashdot has survived. From Blockstackers, to Andover, to Andover.net, and then to VA Linux Systems to OSDN to VA Software to OSTG to SourceForge. I've had a lot of different business cards. The names have changed, and a few faces have changed as well, but the core the site, the attitude and spirit remain the same.

Part 4 will run next week where I'll talk more about present day Slashdot operations and philosophy.

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126 comments

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I subtitle this story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21011907)

Slashdot Sells Out

Re:I subtitle this story (-1, Troll)

PinkyDead (862370) | about 7 years ago | (#21011959)

Slashdot - The You My Bitch Years.

The New Interface (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012049)

The new interface only dowloads a few comments at a time and you usually have to click on them to read anything. This is a pain. Please consider reverting to the previous interface. You will have fewer clicks, but a more satisfied audience.

Or, somone set us up the Goatse statute! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012699)

That's all I remember slashdot for; Goatse...

and a Lemon party or two...
SEXYKELLYOSBOURNE and friends...
signal11

Re:Or, somone set us up the Goatse statute! (-1, Offtopic)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 7 years ago | (#21014235)

...somone set us up the Goatse statute...
You asked for it [dotancohen.com]

10 years of slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015699)

...and still the nested page views doesn't work! (duplicate content over multiple pages)
taco sux0rs. :D

sure are (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21011957)

from the are-we-sick-of-this-yet dept.

yes

What Happened To Michael? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21011993)

During that time we hired Jamie, Timothy, Michael and the company hired Pudge, Wes, and a number of other folks who initially worked for other parts of the company, but later came to work for Slashdot

Anybody know what happened to Michael?

He was one of the most abusive editors ever, using slashdot as his own personal blog, posting wrong stories, posting political articles that suited his viewpoints, and mod abused people who called him out.

One day, he mysteriously disappears into the ether without notice. Did the slashdot brass kick him to the curb?

Michael Sims Fired, Joins GNAA to Troll Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012259)

Michael Sims Fired, Joins GNAA to Troll Slashdot Full Time

FREMONT, CA (TECHNEWS) - After a heated debate at Slashdot executive offices, editor Michael Sims was locked out of the building and departed in a tirade of lisping insults, vowing revenge immediately. This morning, industry sources revealed that Sims has joined the infamous trolling organization Gay Nigger Association of America with the intent of trolling Slashdot fulltime.

In a short phone interview with Technews, Sims asserted that he was calm but resolved on his course of action. "The Slashdot editors and I had a disagreement," he explained. "I did it all for the users, but they..." he drew the syllable out painfully, resting on a case full of Little League trophies and certificates of participation from transgendered dating services, "They just couldn't take my truth. They were -- babies, just babies, oh, the horror, the abomination," he said, before being led away by three white-clad male nurses.

According to Harvard Psychology Professor Arnold Rothstahlberg, "trolling" is an internet phenomenon where dissenting users disrupt a site by flooding it with absurd or paradoxical information. "It satisfies the primal id," he said, chewing on a large, bulbous, phallic black cigar. "To justify themselves by forcing their enemies into hysterics. It's a compensatory mechanism much like getting back at the kids who beat you up in high school by installing Linux and using it to pingflood their XP boxes and Macs."

Slashdot editor CmdrTaco was reticent to comment. At an interview conducted in the crap-filled Ann Arbor bungalow he shares with his wife, to whom he proposed over Slashdot, he said, "Well, you know, Slashdot is just a web site. Michael should calm down about this. But if he doesn't, our corporate sponsors will sue him until he's giving $4 blowjobs on Haight Street."

From the GNAA corporate headquarters, a mysterious floating island off the coast of Newfoundland that few reporters have seen and even fewer have returned from with their sexual identities intact, GNAA "Head Programmer" timecop said he was glad to have Sims on hand. "From what I've seen of his postings on Slashdot," said timecop, "he's a total fag. Which is convenient as all our halfops need anal, and I can't handle the drama. That's what's worst about the net: the drama."

Sims has been involved in previous internet firefights, most notably the controversy over the censorware.org website in 2001. While Sims alleges that the site was his creation that was sabotaged by others, his coworkers disagree. Bennett Haselton, security consultant for the "Anarchy Anal" and "Chaos Cumshot" websites, said of Sims, "We set up this website, and left him the password. We have a disagreement, bam, the website goes down and someone raped my two-week-old Labrador puppy with an iPod."

Slashdot Editor CowboyNeal, who was entangled in a whale net after attempting to swim the English channel, spoke fondly of his former coworker. "Michael always brought a certain passion to the work, a passion that was easily ignited and led to many sweaty sessions in the corporate washroom," he said. "I'm not at all surprised he joined an organization of gay niggers. He always like something different and unique in his pasta salads."

Programmer Seth Finkelstein alleges that Sims is "totally unstable" and agreed readily to this interview. "Of course, I'm a disinterested observer," he said. "But anytime I see that closet psychopath and monkey nut-muncher stealing the spotlight from hardworking programmers like myself, I have to speak up, for the benefit of the people, of course," he said. Technews reporters were permitted to leave the premises only after making a PayPal donation to Finkelstein.

Mike Godwin of the EFF, who balances a career as privacy advocate with his hobby of making videos of teen swingers blowing goats, agreed. "I've never met another editor like Michael," he said. "And, since my regimen of retrovirals is already costing me an arm and a leg, I hope I never do." Godwin mentioned that Sims believes his trolling of Slashdot is providing a "different perspective" that benefits "the broader Linux, er, Slashdot, community."

When Technews returned to interview Sims, he spoke softly and with conviction. "They don't have the interests of the user community at heart," he said. Suddenly he was pounding his desk in tears. "Those bastards cut off my lifeline, my raison d'etre," he sobbed. His voice and eyes became clear, a hatred burning behind the lenses. "I'll crapflood every Linux kernel update from now until oblivion. They haven't heard the last... of Michael Sims," he said.



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Re:What Happened To Michael? (4, Informative)

soulsteal (104635) | about 7 years ago | (#21012337)

He fell victim to a hybrid petrified-Natalie-Portman/grits avalanche set off by the flapping wings of a solitary penis bird halfway around the globe.

Thanks chaos theory!

Re:What Happened To Michael? (1)

mav[LAG] (31387) | about 7 years ago | (#21016135)

Even if you didn't like his editing, you cannot deny his contribution to Slashdot culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012401)

He was one of the most abusive editors ever, using slashdot as his own personal blog, posting wrong stories, posting political articles that suited his viewpoints, and mod abused people who called him out.

One day, he mysteriously disappears into the ether without notice. Did the slashdot brass kick him to the curb?


he now goes under the name kdawson.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (1, Interesting)

eshefer (12336) | about 7 years ago | (#21013581)

I'm glad to see someone modded this up to funny after someone without humor modded it down to troll. if I had moderation points now - I'd moderate it informative* as well.

* I kid! I kid!

Oblig. karma whoring (3, Informative)

IHSW (960644) | about 7 years ago | (#21012587)

A Brief History of Slashdot Part 1, Chips & Dips
http://meta.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/02/1553218 [slashdot.org]

A Brief History of Slashdot Part 2, Explosions
http://meta.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/10/1445216 [slashdot.org]

Quite interesting.

Re:Oblig. karma whoring (2, Funny)

fbjon (692006) | about 7 years ago | (#21014607)

Quite interesting.
Indeed. I expect this as a theme once the series gets to 'S'.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (5, Interesting)

julesh (229690) | about 7 years ago | (#21012647)

Anybody know what happened to Michael?

He was one of the most abusive editors ever, using slashdot as his own personal blog, posting wrong stories, posting political articles that suited his viewpoints, and mod abused people who called him out.

One day, he mysteriously disappears into the ether without notice. Did the slashdot brass kick him to the curb?


I hope so. I've still got a moderation ban from when I moderated a comment he left as offtopic, many many years ago.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (4, Informative)

JNighthawk (769575) | about 7 years ago | (#21013267)

He resigned or was fired. As far as I know, it was a combination of his abusive tactics here at Slashdot and his debacle in censorware.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (2, Insightful)

mce (509) | about 7 years ago | (#21014339)

You're not the only one. A single idiot can do more damage than 10 wise men can repair.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012747)

January 31st, 2005, was the last day that Michael Sims, Nazi editor of Slashdot, ever posted a story or indeed was ever heard from again. But what happened that day to Michael Sims? Did his embroilment in the Censorware.org conspiracy finally catch up with him? Or was he involved in a violent, and ultimately fatal, lovers' spat with his partner Jamie McCarthy? The truth, as we'll see, is much more perverse than fiction.

On New Year's Eve of 2004, the entire Slashdot staff was throwing a party to celebrate another year of Linux propaganda, homosexual recruitment, and the profits that their Microsoft ad banners had raked in for them. Eric Raymond, Emad, Roblimo, Hemos, Taco, Jamie, and Alan Cox all planned to rape Richard Stallman later in the night. Michael had shown up late, however, and was let in on the plans after they were made.

As it turned out, Jamie was to be leading the charge against the Free Software Foundation's founder and would be the first to penetrate Stallman's hairy unwashed ass. Michael, however, was jealous of this and made secret plans to thwart their nefarious venture of homosexual rape. The event was planned for zero hours, right as the ball dropped. But Michael had other ideas.

Michael suggested they all toast their plan with Jägermeister, Eric Raymond's drink of choice that was in heavy supply that night, and the rest of the partygoers followed. While everyone downed their first shot, Michael slipped into the VA Software office's break-room, grabbing the syringe Raymond used to inject Rob Malda's semen with on the way. Michael leered at the case of Jägermeister, needle in hand.

Minutes later, Michael reappeared in the conference room with more Jäger, ready for more shots. Over the next couple of hours they indulged in several drinking and party games, spurred on by Michael, as they drank bottle after bottle of the dark brown herbal liquor. If one were to pay special attention to Michael, however, they would note that Michael drank much less than anyone else and only from his own bottle.

Emad and Roblimo were involved in a powerful sixty-nine cheered on by Hemos and Alan whose bent geek penises throbbed near Emad's head and Roblimo's bloated ass, waiting for an opportunity. Moaning, Emad diverted his wet mouth from Roblimo's butthole and took down Hemos and Alan's cocks in quick succession. Hearing the wet, sloppy commotion behind him, Roblimo lost control and glunked all over Emad's chest.

Across the room near the podium, Eric Raymond was man-handling Rob, jamming a handgun down the back of his pants and asking him if he remembered their special night in Holland. Rob was giggling like a school girl and squirmed with all his might against the cold steel. Eric rained a shower of Jäger over Rob's head which Rob greedily tongued up even as Eric's skinny red penis entered his ass cheeks, probing for the brown prize.

The conference room was awash in gay cum and chaos, Michael noted happily as he surveyed the carnage around him. Emad had now teamed up with Alan and Hemos to rape Roblimo's ass as Rob was being pistol-whipped to orgasm by Eric, all oblivious to the massive amounts of Rohypnol they were ingesting as they drank the Jägermeister Michael had given them. It wouldn't be much longer before the drug took effect.

Another half-hour into the night, Eric paused from raping Taco's mouth and sodomizing his anus with his Glock, short of breath. His head swam and he looked at his bottle of Jägermeister. I can usually down six of these babies, thought Eric, wondering why he was now farting uncontrollably. Rob's nose wrinkled as Eric's rectum expelled another gallon of aerosolized feces into the air. Stooping, Eric held on to the podium for support.

Across the way, Emad pulled his tiny Iranian dick out from between Alan and Hemos's in Roblimo's ass and doubled over. Alan and Hemos continued pounding Roblimo's purple, swollen anus even as Emad began vomiting all over their cocks, thinking it a move on Emad's part to spice things up. Roblimo passed out again for the fourth time that night, but as Hemos slapped him, he failed to wake up.

With Emad vomiting even more violently now, Hemos wondered what was going on. He held a hand to his head as he began forgetting why he was balls-deep in some old man's ass. Alan began hiccuping, which led to uneven strokes and finally a quick orgasm which was quickly washed away by more of Emad's vomit. Nausea rose in Alan's throat as the scents of semen, man-ass, sweat, and vomit overcame him.

Michael was smiling from the corner chair at the table when the telecom beeped. He quickly left the conference room and headed toward the VA Software compound's front doors to let RMS in. As he rounded the last corner, however, Michael almost dropped his bottle of untainted Jäger when he saw that Stallman was not alone. Standing next to him was the CEO of VA Software, Larry Augustin.

His mind racing a thousand miles a minute, Michael feigned a security malfunction when he tried to open the door, leaving Stallman and Augustin stranded outside in the cold. Waving Michael off, Larry Augustin was about to get a slim-jim when he stopped, staring, right behind Michael. There, crawling on the ground, was Rob Malda in his familiar green-and-white plaid shirt, covered in chunks of semen, blood, and feces.

Rob Malda looked up at Augustin and feebly reached out to him before vomiting on the cold tile floor and passing out with a squish in his own sick. Larry and Richard's faces were masks of horror and disgust, and they wasted no time in forcing open the doors. Larry disabled the alarms while Richard checked Rob's pulse. As Richard loosened Rob's collar, Larry turned to Michae, gglaring, and shouted, "What the Hell happened here tonight?"

The conference room was a mess. Feces covered the wall and in some places even the ceiling. The carpet was soaked with blood, semen, diarrhea, and vomit in a stew so unimaginable that the room was later bulldozed instead of being professionally cleaned. On the dry erase board, someone had gotten creative and drawn erect, ejaculating penises in their own poo. And behind the podium lay Eric Raymond, sleeping fitfully.

At the other end of the room, Emad was curled into fetal position surrounded by a lake of vomit and curdling shit, both trailing from his soiled form -- nothing new to him. Hemos and Alan laid moaning next to one another, limp dicks in one another's slimy hands. Behind them Roblimo's morose form breathed shallowly, ass in the air where he had passed out earlier. He farted in his sleep as Larry Augustin looked on, mouth agape.

Next week, Larry Augustin held a special meeting with the Slashdot staff. Emad, Jamie, Roblimo, Rob, and Hemos all seated themselves and the meeting began. Eric Raymond also showed, though everyone there seemed a little perplexed. Their party had gotten messy but no one remembered how. Eric wanted especially hard to remember, he thought as he patted his stomach, which still gurgled painfully.

Early in the wee hours of January 1st, 2005, Larry watched as sickened paramedics loaded VA employee after VA employee into the backs of ambulances and raced them to the hospital. They were treated for dehydration and were all given stomach pumps, enemas, and several rounds of antibiotics. They were also tested for drugs and the results were more than a little surprising. Michael, however, had been the only one to test negative.

Hour after hour went by in the VA board-room as each one of the partygoer related their experience. Roblimo, now wheelchair-bound, took the mic and shared his experience that mirrored everyone else's: After his first few toasts of Jägermeister, he remembered nothing save waking up a day later in the hospital, tubes and wires trailing from his bruised body. Roblimo was suffering from a rectal prolapse.

It was decided by a unanimous vote that Michael Sims was to be fired with due haste, as he had drugged the entire Slashdot staff in an attempt to rape them. Unfortunately, due haste took about three-and-a-half weeks so the shareholders could approve the move. Their reaction to the story removed any doubt about Michael's fate and the motion was carried unanimously. Michael was terminated January 31st, 2005.

So now you know why Michael Sims hasn't posted any new stories to Slashdot since January. Let it be a warning to you, gentle reader, of what evil lurks in the hearts of psychotic Linux zealots and Nazi propagandists. Since then the boys at Slashdot have been able to laugh it off, but consider their depraved anus-games. You might not be so lucky were Michael Sims to happen to you. You have been warned.

Re:What Happened To Michael? (-1, Redundant)

djones101 (1021277) | about 7 years ago | (#21013775)

He turned into kdawson?

A hazzah perhaps? (1)

valkabo (840034) | about 7 years ago | (#21012011)

Hazzah!! Summary: 1. News website 2. ??? 3. Profit!

SF4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012045)

Street Fighter Fucking 4 has been announced!! Great god almighty get off slashdot and go party!!

Oh Please (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 years ago | (#21012069)

You people take yourselves WAY too seriously. It's a BLOG. And over time, it's got worse and worse. Now it's a shitty blog with advertisements that masquerade as stories. More or less like Wikipedia, good for not much more than trivia.

Re:Oh Please (3, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | about 7 years ago | (#21012091)

And yet you read and post to it. Does that say more about Slashdot or about you?

Re:Oh Please (4, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 7 years ago | (#21012443)

And yet you read and post to it. Does that say more about Slashdot or about you?

Slashdot, specifically that it was worth enduring that jackass because the rest was so good. Besides, the inevitable flamewars in reaction to stories like "George Bush Admits Torturing Kittens" (when the linked article was about farm subsidies or something else totally unrelated) were usually pretty entertaining.

Re:Oh Please (1)

rk (6314) | about 7 years ago | (#21013377)

Y'know, it's pretty easy to bash slashdot and I've been guilty of it myself from time to time. But, even with the trolls and vitriol that gets spewed here, compared to most sites, especially with sites that have issued a million plus accounts, Slashdot reads like de Tocqueville in comparison.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 7 years ago | (#21012467)

Ignore that. Discussion2 seemingly reparented your post to one about "whatever happened to Michael", and that's that I thought I was responding to.

Listen to You? (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21012379)

I note by your UserID# that you joined Slashdot exactly when it was exploding in membership, like when AOL gatewayed to the Internet. That ought to make you an expert in how Slashdot got worse when it went from "word of mouth" to mass popularity. But by the same token, not worth listening to your opinion about it. Especially when you're trashing a site you post to several times a day. Who's taking themself too seriously again?

Re:Listen to You? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21013153)

Well, my low digit ID is all Trolled-up.

Re:Listen to You? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21013195)

Moderation -2
    100% Troll

TrollMods say "Troll" means "I disagree with you, but can't argue".

Maybe that OP was right.

Re:Listen to You? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 years ago | (#21013691)

TrollMods say "Troll" means "I disagree with you, but can't argue".


Though as you know, /. doesn't allow moderation and posting to the same discussion. Therefore "Troll" could also mean "I disagree with you, but I want to use my mod points instead of saying why in a message".

Re:Listen to You? (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21013961)

The two meanings are not mutually exclusive.

But what's clear is that such a baseless, anonymous, unexplained mod was more important to the modder to make than actually arguing with something they disagree with.

A good improvement to the Slashcode would be requiring negative moderations to include a hidden, but viewable, reason why. Including a checkbox next to a definition of "Troll" or "Flamebait" to indicate the modder is explicitly saying that the post meets that definition. It wouldn't eliminate the committed trollMod, but it would make it easier to disagree with their abuse in a response, which would be a service to metaMods and readers. Oh, and give metamoderation some real teeth that the persistent plague of bad mods proves it lacks.

Re:Listen to You? (1)

Alaska Jack (679307) | about 7 years ago | (#21015529)

I actually think you could accomplish this by doing away with negative mods altogether, and increasing the positive "ceiling" -- to, say, 10 or 15. Wouldn't this work, or am I missing something?

    - Alaska Jack

Re:Listen to You? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21016035)

Same difference, with the range just shifted arithmetically up to zero. Only if there were some multiplicative or other dimensional scaling would that change make a difference.

The problem is that we want to give a linear grade to nonlinear judgements. What if I want to look at "funny flamebaits"? By linearizing the system, we make it fail to reflect what it's describing. Which is the basis for system gaming. There are other nonlinear, but problematically combinatorial, features of moderation, like the prohibition on moderating a thread in which the moderator has commented, even if the two comments are in distant subthreads. That's why I patch the problem with more feedback. But I don't expect it to happen: the Slashcode seems to be static except for superficial bells/whistles like the new threading and tagging features. Compared to the coding history Taco recounted in this story, it seems like the Slashcode is set in stone.

Re:Listen to You? (1)

sharp-bang (311928) | about 7 years ago | (#21019501)

Or, we can live with the minority percentage of mods who abuse the ability to mod posts negative out of spite, malice, immaturity or laziness, and take our karma only as seriously as it should be, and not more so.

IMO the best filter for this sort of behavior is to let it roll off, rather than increase the number of carping, acrimonious meta posts about moderation, which I have apparently just incremented, dammit.

Re:Listen to You? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 years ago | (#21015583)

2007........1997
Offtopic....Troll
Troll.......Flaimbate
Flaimbate...Funny
Funny.......Interesting
Interesting.Insightful
Insightful..OffTopic

the old days (1)

Red LaRoux (611360) | about 7 years ago | (#21016037)

I remember when there was so much computer knowledge shared, and less gee whiz /. vs Digg going on...

is there any waay to roll back the clock?

Re:the old days (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21016573)

Yeah: submit a lot more tech stories and comments yourself, and urge your friends to do so.

That's what an open blog is like.

Or maybe another tech market crash to make geekery unpopular again and drive off the posers.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Monkey (16966) | about 7 years ago | (#21015691)

Why don't you go drink a big cup of ... oh... never mind.

Heh (2)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#21012195)

Likewise we didn't want to get into a situation where we were 'just part of a network' using all our stories to plug other network sites.

The occasional slashvertisment not withstanding. To be fair though, I'm sure those aren't corporately mandated which was the point of that sentence, just people (ab)using Slashdot to generate some traffic.

Fret not! (5, Insightful)

CaptainZapp (182233) | about 7 years ago | (#21012213)

No personal jet. No military style compound. But a nice house isn't a bad way to start off your adult life.

Taco, as a fairly long-time reader and contributor of comments, let me add the following statement:

You gained something more important then that and that's despite all the pissing, moaning and shoveling dreck into your general direction: Credibility & integrity and that's not a bad feat after being scrutinized to hell and back for ten years.

Congratulations to the whole team!

Re:Fret not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014119)

Credibility & integrity and that's not a bad feat after being scrutinized to hell and back for ten years.

yeah, mod points being removed from people who don't do the slashdot goosestep and the known abuse of the under and over rated mod system. that's what i call integrity and credibility.

you're a brown noser.

Re:Fret not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015049)

the known abuse of the under and over rated mod system

where are these known abuses documented?

Re:Fret not! (1)

cweber (34166) | about 7 years ago | (#21015393)

Totally agree! Well said!
I'm really enjoying this series. It brings back many fond memories, and some less fond ones also.

Re:Fret not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21017813)

Man, why don't you just bend over and let Taco fuck you in the ass too? Fucking cunt.

Fortress /. (1)

J4 (449) | about 7 years ago | (#21012263)

So _that's_ why you guys had the cubicle walls at LWCE Javits 2k. ;)

Jon Katz is Gone? (5, Funny)

Roofus (15591) | about 7 years ago | (#21012293)

And all this time I thought I was just blocking his stories!

Re:Jon Katz is Gone? (2, Funny)

unitron (5733) | about 7 years ago | (#21013271)

Yeah, but can you believe that they were paying Katz, and not the other way around ?!?

Re:Jon Katz is Gone? (1)

loftwyr (36717) | about 7 years ago | (#21013471)

Funny, I only found out he'd left when I went to update my preferences and his name (and the blocking of) had disappeared.

I sat there wondering how long he'd been gone before I noticed.

Re:Jon Katz is Gone? (0, Flamebait)

Oldav (533444) | about 7 years ago | (#21018409)

Tragically Mr Katz left, He was hated because he wrote well, something frowned upon here, by the usual suspects, who seem to be threatened by real writing ability. Slashdot has deteriorated badly in the last 10 years, so its no surprise people of taste and intelligence like Mr Katz have left. Pity really this WAS once a great site, much like the US itself has deteriorated to little better than a totalitarian rabble.

Re:Jon Katz is Gone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21018659)

It's ok Junis... Jon is gone but not forgotten.

The ability to write well is meaningless if you don't actually have knowledge of your subject.

Re:Jon Katz is Gone? (2, Funny)

bleckywelcky (518520) | about 7 years ago | (#21019321)

My memory of Jon Katz consists primarily of "In this post-9/11 world ..."

I actually like version control (4, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | about 7 years ago | (#21012359)

I still get impatient with all this overhead to this day, but I know everyone prefers it this way. It's better, but it's definitely less 'Fun'.
It's funny but I actually like version control. I'm a "tools" kind of guy, during college I picked up using CVS and have always liked using it. When SVN came along, I picked that up too.

For some people, this distracts from coding. For me, besides the initial learning curve, it doesn't. What distracts me most is pointless meetings, traveling to the other office, etc. With travelling and testing, sometimes a week goes by without touching any code.

Re:I actually like version control (3, Insightful)

witte (681163) | about 7 years ago | (#21012845)

Heh :)
Doing anything having to do with software for businesses without traceability, version control, etc. is seriously beyond stupid.
Every time I join a project and I learn they don't know what version control is or simply don't want to use it, I consider myself stuck in deep, deep shit.
I like good procedures and the supporting tools, they helps keep things organised and complexity manageable. A lot of devs or pm's don't seem to grasp it...

Re:I actually like version control (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#21013423)

Sometimes bad version control is almost worse than no version control. My current job is using some horrible system called PVCS. And don't even get me started on their "deployment" procedure, it's a joke.

Re:I actually like version control (1)

spiralx (97066) | about 7 years ago | (#21015307)

Ha, I used that in my first job 9/10 years ago... and yes, it sucks. Then again, the ancient version of Surround I'm using at my current place isn't much better :(

Re:I actually like version control (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | about 7 years ago | (#21016603)

Well, I gather that you never had to deal with ClearCase [google.com] ?

Re:I actually like version control (1)

quanticle (843097) | about 7 years ago | (#21019465)

Hear! Hear!

My company uses ClearCase, and it combines the worst aspects of text-based config files and graphical, menu-based systems.

Drive back from ORD.. (1)

grandrollerz (557606) | about 7 years ago | (#21012485)

For some reason we flew into chicago, a 3 hour drive home. CowboyNeal and I were both on the verge of passing out, hallucinating with flu, singing at the top of our lungs just to say conscious.
That drive back to West Michigan from Chicago is hell. It's fine until you near the Michigan/Indian border and then it's all down hill from there. My things is having all four windows down, middle of winter, dead of night...it's cold, but I'm awake....the wife doesn't like it so much though, she might prefer it to my singing.

Re:Drive back from ORD.. (3, Funny)

n9uxu8 (729360) | about 7 years ago | (#21013157)

The radio on the drive back to Michigan from chicago is HELL unless you like Delilah (does anyone actually like Delilah)?!?!? Thank god for satellite!

Re:Drive back from ORD.. (3, Funny)

chazzf (188092) | about 7 years ago | (#21014181)

Which is appropriate, given the black hole of suck that I-94 is.

Re:Drive back from ORD.. (1)

TopShelf (92521) | about 7 years ago | (#21014479)

I remember making that Chicago-Ann Arbor drive one night in the dead of winter about 15 years ago, and the snow was coming down so hard you could only drive about 25-30 MPH and see about 30-40 feet ahead of you. Of course being a poor college student I didn't have the cash to get a room for the night, so I just pushed on. It was past midnight so there were few, if any, other cars on the road and the drive seemed like it was never going to end...

Re:Drive back from ORD.. (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 7 years ago | (#21014815)

That drive back to West Michigan from Chicago is hell. It's fine until you near the Michigan/Indian border and then it's all down hill from there.

Really? Actually I used to find that was roughly when the drive improved since the Chicago traffic started to subside, especially once past I-65, and there weren't any more stupid toll booths. I still didn't like the drive but I didn't dislike it as much as driving through Chicago. Admittedly that was partly my fault since the first time I did it, being an ignorant foreigner, I had no idea that speed limit signs like "Maximum 55 mph" near Chicago actually meant "Minimum 55 (and for safety 60+)". Chicago is still the only place I've ever driven when I felt that driving at the speed limit was dangerous because I was going far too slow!

Basic Development Practice (2, Insightful)

Womens Shoes (1175311) | about 7 years ago | (#21012559)

...CVS committing, rollbacks, and scheduled deployment of code. I still get impatient with all this overhead to this day

That's got to be more with the specific setup you had than with the philosophy in general, no? A good development sandbox setup where you can do dramatic changes, quickly test, and push to a generally stable live environment increases fun for most developers I know...

Interesting (2, Interesting)

whackco (599646) | about 7 years ago | (#21012765)

What is interesting is your choice in corporate partners. I wonder if you ever regret not taking one of the other deals that might or might not have made you much more wealthy. Again: Might not have ;)

It's been fun (3, Informative)

snowbrdr (994683) | about 7 years ago | (#21012771)

Just wanted to say thanks for the ongoing story of how /. got started up. I've been coming to this site at least 5-10 times a day since 2000 when I graduated HS and have yet to be disappointed in the material I find on the main page. Keep up the fantastic work and I can't wait to see what the next 10 years has in store for /.! -a

Anybody want to out the Linux distro? (5, Interesting)

Evets (629327) | about 7 years ago | (#21012773)

Are there any old timers here who might want to out the linux distro from comdex? That part has me very curious. I'm thinking some sort of Lindows-ish distro.

Re:Anybody want to out the Linux distro? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21013743)

Coming from old-timer #666, the distro was Caldera.

Seafood Place (4, Informative)

Se7enLC (714730) | about 7 years ago | (#21012803)

After that we went to the boston aquarium for a bit, and went out to dinner with the entire Andover staff at some seafood place that apparently is well known but I'm not a boston person so I don't really know what it was. I remember wanting to just read my email and being incredibly uncomfortable the whole time. I've never been a good person dealing with meatspace crowds. I was on the verge of panic the whole night. I had scallops and tried to smile and be polite when I just wanted to hide in the corner. I've still never really dealt with my ability to deal with crowds.

It was probably Legal Seafoods. That's right near the aquarium.

Re:Seafood Place (5, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 7 years ago | (#21013151)

As opposed to Illegal Seafoods. That's right IN the aquarium, but only after-hours and with an accomplice on the inside.

Re:Seafood Place (1)

machinecraig (657304) | about 7 years ago | (#21013333)

I was thinking the same thing - and Legal Seafoods is pretty popular for business lunches \ dinners where you have a dozen or more people to seat.

Re:Seafood Place (1)

HyperbolicParabaloid (220184) | about 7 years ago | (#21013421)

Anthony's Pier Four

Re:Seafood Place (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | about 7 years ago | (#21013507)

some of the worst seafood i've ever had too... and WAY overpriced.

ability? (1)

airdrummer (547536) | about 7 years ago | (#21013715)

> I've still never really dealt with my ability to deal with crowds.

i think he means _in_ability;-)

Re:Seafood Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014725)

Union Oyster House.

I was actually working at Andover at the time... Shared a cube with Taco himself when I was but a wee 17 year old Perl monkey.

Re:Seafood Place (1)

mwigmani (558450) | about 7 years ago | (#21017645)

The Union Oyster House is notable as it's the oldest restaurant in the U.S. [wikipedia.org] .

I like their chowder...

Re:Seafood Place (1)

tgd (2822) | about 7 years ago | (#21014977)

And its awful, centrally prepared frozen crap that only a tourist would like.

Bleh.

Kudos to Taco for forgetting who it was.

Re:Seafood Place (1)

glwtta (532858) | about 7 years ago | (#21015035)

It was probably Legal Seafoods. That's right near the aquarium.

Ugh.

Re:Seafood Place (1)

timothy (36799) | about 7 years ago | (#21017699)

Also good have been Durgan Park ... a place I've been to once, and enjoyed, but found pretty overrated for the price.

timothy

PT Cruiser? (2, Interesting)

Skater (41976) | about 7 years ago | (#21013021)

Whatever happened to the Slashdot PT Cruiser? Did someone win it? Did they drive it with the Slashdot logos on it?

Re:PT Cruiser? (2, Informative)

Skater (41976) | about 7 years ago | (#21013797)

I just found this comment [slashdot.org] that answers some of my questions - apparently it still is on the road.

Re:PT Cruiser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21015565)

I see it all the time in Walnut Creek, CA. It still has all the logos. I don't know who owns it.

The Katz era... (2, Interesting)

MythMoth (73648) | about 7 years ago | (#21013389)

Among them was Jon Katz who continued to write for us for a number of years until he decided it was time to write about dogs instead.
Jon Katz's articles polarized your audience. What did you think about that?

Re:The Katz era... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014539)

They liked the idea so much, they hired Keith Dawson

Re:The Katz era... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#21014911)

If you think he polarized slashdot, can you imagine how dogs and their owners are in an uproar over being written about by Katz?

The seafood place (3, Informative)

lbjay (34118) | about 7 years ago | (#21013487)

It was Anthony's Pier 4 [pier4.com] , yo.

In the movies? (3, Interesting)

Schnapple (262314) | about 7 years ago | (#21013529)

My first, last, and hopefully only ever COMDEX was in Las Vegas
Was this the same convention where you were filmed and later put in the documentary Revolution OS [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:In the movies? (2, Informative)

debianlinux (548082) | about 7 years ago | (#21014553)

Pretty sure that was the LinuxWorld Expo, IIRC.

No personal jet? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | about 7 years ago | (#21013687)

But, there's naked super models and Playboy Bunnies...right? Please, say it's so!

Otherwise, I'm leaving this dot-com thing I'm doing and I'm shaving the rest of my hair off and becoming a Buddhist Monk!

CmdrTaco loves the pain! (1)

AdamThor (995520) | about 7 years ago | (#21014319)

I've never been a good person dealing with meatspace crowds. I was on the verge of panic the whole night. I had scallops and tried to smile and be polite when I just wanted to hide in the corner. I've still never really dealt with my ability to deal with crowds.

and then...

(although I went to Vegas countless times since for fun- NYC, Las Vegas and Tokyo are the 3 cities I love to visit)

umm. because you are a masochist?

cannot parse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014593)

"...one nobody had never heard of"

Does this mean if you have not heard of it, then you are a nobody? Or does it mean that it was generally unknown (assuming they meant ever instead of never).

Also, what is the deal with ending a sentence with "of"?

As seen on TV? (1)

sootman (158191) | about 7 years ago | (#21014835)

"...My first, last, and hopefully only ever COMDEX was in Las Vegas... We had a crazy booth. It was absolutely huge, with bean bags..."

I remember in the movie Revolution OS [wikipedia.org] there was an interview with one of the Slashdot crew, at a tradeshow, in a beanbag chair... was that the same tradeshow? Which staffer was it?

Re:As seen on TV? (1)

chrisd (1457) | about 7 years ago | (#21015995)

The one on the inflatable couch was Taco.

hopefully only ever COMDEX (3, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | about 7 years ago | (#21014953)

Since COMDEX is no more, probably 'only ever'

I remember that booth. Not on the show floor, over in the 'Linux Pavillion' which, that year, was in a hotel attached to the LVCC. The BSD crew was there too. And the Caldera guys across the way making too much noise.

The only time I've met any of the /. crew IRL.

Re:hopefully only ever COMDEX (1)

mbrod (19122) | about 7 years ago | (#21016533)

I remember their setup in the "Linux Pavillion" that year. I think they had a flat screen with /. on it behind them and small laptops they were using to access /. read submissions, etc. I was too intimidated by their awesomeness to chat with them though.

Ah... Jon Katz (1)

yet another coward (510) | about 7 years ago | (#21016147)

Among them was Jon Katz who continued to write for us for a number of years until he decided it was time to write about dogs instead.


Good for us /.-ers. Bad for dogs.

Who hired Zonk? (0, Offtopic)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#21017049)

And why?

Conflict of interest (1)

WalterGR (106787) | about 7 years ago | (#21017197)

...we decided that we had to go with someone that would guarantee us editorial independence, and not create serious conflicts of interest by forcing us to favor some particular distribution.

Given your current Corporate Overlords (stock symbol LNUX, owners of linux.com etc.,) how do you feel about conflicts of interest?

Seriously under-resourced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21018605)

I still have mixed feelings on this matter. Had the corporate overlords given us a dozen machines, we could have been free to write a lot of new user features during that time. But instead we used the same database for nearly 5 years.

So for the sake of six machines, how many potential features have been lost and how much of your time has been wasted writing boilerplate caching code? I feel furious reading this and think you / we've been seriously neglected by Anderson. It's like hiring Leonardo da Vinci and only allowing him six pencils a year. What miserly, penny pinching idiocy.

Does any one share my feelings here?
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