Retiring from Slashdot: The long, slow death
1. Why Anonymous Mods suck
Any user on Slashdot is invited to moderate after a while, so long as their Karma remains positive. Moderation is great when its used wisely and I've no hassle being modded down when deserved. Trouble is, every man and their dog is doing it now, and there is no accountability. Take this post. Someone modded it as a "Troll" shortly after I posted it, and hardly anyone else got to see it:
Post on Bioshock Installs a Rootkit (SONY get away with what hackers are jailed for doing)
Increasingly we're seeing dumber and dumber mods come on board: Jokes are marked "Offtopic" by the humor-impaired. If someone doesn't agree with you, you'll get modded a "flamebait" or "troll". They don't justify this. You don't even know who they are, and there's no appeal process. New moderators are supposed to read the moderator guidelines, but from the number of dumb mods it's clear they don't.
There is something called Meta-moderate which is *supposed* to be a check for this, but Meta-moderate isn't easy or even interesting work: You have to guess the context: it's long, slow (and ineffective). I don't know the numbers, but I'm guessing most mods are never meta-moderated. The best time to meta-moderate is immediately after the dumb mod is posted because that's when everyone sees it. Instead it gets "archived" in a historic meta-moderate queue which no one ever looks at.
The above post, which others noted was an unfair mod, is still sitting at 0=Troll a week after which suggests to me: Meta-moderate is a warm, fuzzy feeling that doesn't happen.
2. The Firehose Sucks
To submit a story to Slashot takes 20-30 minutes. You have to write it, get the links, work on the wording, check and post. That's a fair chunk out of your day. But this all goes limp when it reaches the firehose. To be published, you have to get a lot of votes very quickly (within the hour). Post at the wrong time of day, and your submission disappears off the front page (which is usually filled with spam submissions anyway).
And for the wonderful democracy that Firehose is, what do we get? Interesting stories get ignored, for stuff that is recycled, the same story posted with a slightly different headline a few days later, increasingly dumb stuff like the recent story that Verizon diggers cut a power cable. ("Big deal!") Slashdot has become so much like Digg you might as well cut out the middle man and read Digg anyway.
Firehose is just laziness. Slashdot's editors seem to think that a few thousand people looking at brief story synopses for a few seconds and pressing 'up' or 'down' will give better quality then one of them giving the story a good hard read. Slashdot only posts a dozen or so stories a day, so I'll call this plain laziness.
3. A Bad Place to Work
Does any editors even come in to the Slashdot office any more? Slashdot is a nice experiment in a user-run board. Great. Write an academic paper on what you have achieved. What Slashdot isn't any longer is a good place to get news you can use.
So farewell, Slashdotters. Good luck for the future. Nothing personal. In your time, you were a class act, and I think you'll still be around for some time yet. I'll still skim your front page every morning, but my days of submitting stories, writing comments, moderating, meta-moderating and firehosing are over. This is too much like thankless work, and so I Resign. She's all yours.
Slashdot Story of August 24, 2007:
BioShock Installs a Rootkit
"Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions. However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme. Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"
One Law for the Rich, one for the poor
by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Saturday August 25, @12:13PM (#20350411)
* FOX doesn't pay their taxes. "Don't worry about it" says Congress. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/ 99/e-cyclopedia/302366.stm [bbc.co.uk] http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/politics/econo mist_murdoch.htm [vision.net.au] Presidential Candidates eagerly take handouts from FOX http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070802/ap_on_el_pr/ed wards_news_corp [yahoo.com]
* Guy videos FOX's Simpson movie. Goes to Jail. http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/simpsons-filmed-on- mobile/2007/08/17/1186857730452.html [smh.com.au]
* SONY regularly cracks the security on customer's computers. No prosecution.
* Some guy does it. 21 months jail. http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/20 05/05/va_threatkrew2.html [sophos.com]
* Congress decide life jail for hackers would be better: http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2002/02/507 08 [wired.com]
* Disney Wants the law changed. Law gets changed. http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20020305_s prigman.html [findlaw.com] http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2002/02/21 /web_copyright/index.html [salon.com]
* What's Congress done for you lately? Health Insurance? Told their own kids to enlist?
Says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "There is a growing trend for hacking gangs to break into innocent people's computers to spy, to steal, and to cause damage. This sentence sends out a strong message to other hackers that infecting others with Trojan horses and other malware is not acceptable." So Justice Department: You going to do anything about this, or are you corporate shills too?