from the allow-me-to-introduce-myself dept.
Greetings Soylentils! And welcome to SoylentNews!
We are here to deliver the best community-sourced news, catered for all manner of nerd! Because this is a grassroots based platform, the content feeds are powered by readers like you. Our main objective is to highlight news stories on the web that are of importance to everyone, but especially nerds. In addition, SoylentNews will strive to go beyond simple news-aggregation, with some core principles:
- Providing a soapbox for experts to discuss their profession and solicit questions from a curious audience.
- Allowing the community to comment, without any mandatory registration.
- Staying mindful of the community's needs and wants while avoiding changes to satisfy an overarching corporate agenda.
We want to make this your source for news about technology, art, science and politics. We are the new kid on the block and are adapting quickly to satisfy our community's needs, as we look forward to exceeding your expectations and pushing boundaries like never before. Lastly, there will be no changes in format without a general consensus from the community. Thank you for stopping by and enjoy the ride!
You may not have noticed, but SoylentNews recently passed a few milestones.
Some background: As most of you know, there was quite a pushback to a forced rollout of beta on slashdot.org which led to a Slashcott. Some enterprising souls took it upon themselves to take the latest-extant version of slashcode from github (which was several years old) and bludgeoned it into some sort of working order. Uncounted days and hours were invested in trying to get things up and running. Ancient versions of Apache, Perl, Varnish, and the like were pummeled into submission.
This site went live with this story: Welcome to the World of Tomorrow... Today! on February 17, 2014 at 02:07 UTC.
It has been nearly eight months since that inaugural story was published. By the end of this week we'll likely have published our 3,500th story. Of those, one of our editors just recently posted his 1,000th article. But it is the community that makes this site what it is, so it is with pleasure that I note we also just reached the milestone of having comment number 100,000 posted here!
There's so much more that happens "behind the scenes"... system migrations to new hardware; OS updates and patches; migration from old versions of underlying systems; implementation of UTF-8 (international characters); creating the SN Swag Store; implementation of subscriptions; and the cat-herding challenge of coordinating the efforts of all the volunteers who have made this happen. Further, we achieved a degree of independence with the incorporation of SoylentNews as a Public Benefit Corporation having been approved on July 4th.
Over this time, many people have donated their (limited) free time to making this work. Through hardware and software crashes, trolls, spammers, and all the other trials and travails that go with running a web site, we have carved out our own place on the internet. We're still learning and growing.
We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on our wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better. Or stop by IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and ask around in #Soylent or #staff.
Many thanks to all who have contributed to the creation and maintenance of this site, but even more so to those who have submitted stories, read and posted comments, and spread the word about SoylentNews. We could not have done this without you.
Exactly one year ago SoylentNews published its very first story: Welcome to SoylentNews!
And what a year it's been!
It all started with a posting at slashdot where an editor claimed they had "listened to their audience" about complaints about the new Beta version of the site that was being rolled out. Many noted that any changes were cosmetic — that it was the community that made that site what it was. And, in inimical nerd fashion, a "SlashCott" was scheduled from February 10-17 wherein the participants pledged to not visit /. for one whole week.
Others took a more active role. The source code for /. was originally made open source and was available on the internet. Sadly, that code had not been maintained and was several years out of date. Some intrepid souls labored long and hard to locate servers, coordinate activities, and get the code knocked into shape. The goal was to create an alternative site that was free from the manipulations of a corporate overlord.
That first story signified a major accomplishment, but the site was still unstable and many features were incomplete, non-functional, or just plain ugly. Many more days of implementation, debugging, and testing were to follow culminating with SN going live to the world on February 17, 2014: Welcome to the World of Tomorrow... Today!.
Much has happened since that nascent story first graced the 'net. There have been changes in our all-volunteer staff. We had votes for the name of the site. We implemented UTF-8 support so stories and comments can include any valid character. We incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation — on USA's Independence Day no less! We have an on-line store where you can buy SoylentNews Swag. You can subscribe and help support our site.
By the numbers: Over 5000 accounts have been registered and nearly 5000 stories have been posted to the site. Each story is read from 500-2000 times by logged-in users, and approximately 10 times as many Anonymous Cowards. More importantly, nearly 150,000 comments have been posted by you, our community.
Today, we have a small but dedicated group of volunteers who keep the site running. They keep the OS up-to-date on our servers, maintain our Wiki, e-mail, and IRC channels. They add features and fix bugs in the SN code base. Others edit and publish stories to appear on the site. We have a Board of Directors who take care of the legal sides of things. A treasurer who follows the finances. And there are still others who help in a non-technical, but just as necessary capacity in keeping the site humming along.
So, hats off to all who have helped build this site to what it is today!
So, as I write this, day one has officially come to an end. I'm still somewhat in shock over it. Last night when I was editing the database to change over hostnames and such, I was thinking, man, it would be great if we got 100 regular users by tomorrow. Turns out I was wrong. By a factor of ten. Holy cow, people. I'm still in a state of disbelief, partially due to the epic turnout, but also because our very modest server hardware hasn't soiled itself from the influx (the numbers are, well, "impressive" is a way to put it). Anyway, I wanted to do a bit of a writeup of where we stand now, what works, and what doesn't. Check it out (and some raw numbers) after the break! Warning, it is a bit lengthy.