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posted by NCommander on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the changing-of-the-guard dept.

As many of you have already read, John Barrabas resigned as head of SoylentNews, and I've taken over in his place. Many people who are not involved in Staff were likely blindsided on this, and the community itself deserves to have an understanding of the reasons and events leading up to this. This post exists to set the record straight.

I would like to make it clear, especially in hindsight, that the events leading up to this were not pretty, and that no one involved came out smelling like roses. Mistakes were made all around, tempers were lost, and to be frank, at times, I've conducted myself in a way that was not professional.

In the end, the changeover was amicable, and John and I are still on speaking terms with each other. This isn't intended as a bashfest, but rather as explanation to the community (along with those staff who were not directly involved) of why and how this change came about.

NCommander Adds: Staff logs and copies of the email have been posted to my journal. Links included below.

To understand how we got here, we need to go all the way back to the beginning of the foundation of this site, and the events that led up to it. SoylentNews was created as a direct result of Slashdot's responses to their new layout. Many of us from that site had felt that this was the proverbial 'last straw', and that it was time to start again. John organized the initial project (then called AltSlashdot), and created a channel on Freenode to find other like minded people to help drive this goal. I got involved from one of the many posts made in the Slashdot discussion thread which in turn got me on IRC, and involved with the initial project.

At this point, several people had already been experimenting with the last public release of Slashcode, which was hosted in a semi-broken git repository on SourceForge. A couple of independent efforts had managed to get a slightly working Slashcode setup working. However, these instances were broken to the point that we got a bunch of jumbled HTML, and nothing resembling how we did during the private alpha. I offered to provide my knowledge and expertise in trying to get this mess working, while others looked at the possibility of a clean rewrite. In this I had the advantage of knowing where potential problems lay from a previous attempt at running Slash, and my experience at other Slashcode sites, such as Macslash.

After many hours of hacking, I was able get "install-slashcode" to run through with no errors, and bend the theming engine into something resembling a functioning pile of perl. The initial screenshot of Slash that was posted to the wiki was from this very early dev instance. However, the system we were on was a relatively dated instance of CentOS 5. Slash has somewhat unique running requirements, and is something of a four-letter-word to actually get started, let alone working.

Once it became clear that we could get Slash working, our attention turned towards figuring out what our production environment would look like. John began to solicit names for the site, and SoylentNews was picked out of those submissions. In hindsight, this was where we began to run into problems.

Originally, the plan was to be hosted on Bluehost (since that's where the wiki was), and work was done in parallel to try and get Slash up and running while myself and others would try and continue to bend slash to our wills. It became immediately clear that BlueHost wouldn't meet our needs (the initial attempt at installation hosed the VPS to the point it required re-imaging). Several other VPSes were tried (at once) and were unsatisfactory. This is in part why our initial bringup costs were so high.

Around this time, our dev system went and vanished on us, and its owner was unreachable. At this point, I was pretty frustrated with the state of things, so I set out to solve the problem. I had been a Linode customer for sometime at this point, and I knew for it fact it could meet Slash's demands. Without consulting anyone, I broke out my credit card, purchased two Linode 2048s, imaged them with Ubuntu 12.04, and proceeded to build Slashcode's dependencies, configuring them for Slash's particular needs. Furthermore, I was determined that to the extent possible, we would run on modern software.

My choice of Ubuntu for an operating system wasn't a matter of favoritism, but of practicality. I am an active Ubuntu Core Developer, and I knew the fundamentals of the system well enough to make sure we could setup Slash, and not break it by routine updates to the system. With these steps, the bring-up plan was moved from an unorganized bunch of people, and into a dictatorship. While this was not my preference, it was what was necessary to get us out the door.

As we got Slash closer-and-closer to usable, I started assigning tasks, and we got things done. We began to open the pre-launch site to more and more people, and an informal goal was to launch by the end of the Slashcott. An interim moderation algorithm was written, the missing parts of the theme were either recovered from CVS, or rewritten from scratch. Login and account creation was repaired, memcache support was fixed, and I located the last remaining problems with varnish and got that fully operational. We worked well as a team, and on February 16th, we opened our doors to the public.

What I didn't know at the time was that my take charge attitude had ruffled some feathers internally. Furthermore, I had made some decisions on how our development site should work, and that further annoyed people. After launch, John and I had a long one-on-one talk on how he saw things, and that he had gotten some complaints on my conduct. I will readily admit that I am not an experienced manager, nor do I have any formal management training, and conveyed that to John at the time. In the end, I stepped to the side, and John became the formal head of the site, while I continued to head-up dev. Furthermore, the stress and time put during golive left me very close to burn out. With the site up and running, I authored our end of day one post, and proceeded to rest for a week.

Under John, the staff was organized into various teams who in turn were managed by "Overlords," and the staff was loosely organized into this. Quoting from the wiki:

We're have overlords that manage various features. An overlord is responsible for granting access - it's intended to be a no work position, so that it can be held for long periods without requiring much time.

So for example, Applesmasher is the overlord of forums. He grants access to people and recovers access when people leave, but he doesn't have to do any work himself (although he can if he wants). He ensures that the people with access are reliable.

If you need a forum for your group, ask the overlord of forums. If you want a set of wiki pages, ask the overlord of the wiki, and so on.

The current overlords originally agreed to hold the position until Mar 1, that date has already passed. Going forward we can choose overlords via some formal process. (And the current overlords might ask to continue.)

John didn't wish to micro-manage, and felt that everything should be run by consensus. Decisions would be made by the group, and only by the group, but the saying goes, "Ask ten engineers for an opinion, get ten opinions." It quickly became apparent that we couldn't function as a cohesive unit. An Overlord had no authority to actually settle things in case of disagreement, and we had no way of resolving inter-team disputes. I'm not sure who coined it originally, but the term "management silos" quickly became common in describing the problem.

This was further compounded by an inability to communicate efficiently. We had no staff-wide mailing lists, nor a formal list of who was even on Staff (one of the things we're trying to determine post-handover). The only reason we even have staff email addresses is due to mrcoolbp collecting them all independently. mattie_p was made a "manager of everything" in an attempt to try and solve our communication issues, but even he had no authority to actually do anything, and had to defer to John on any matter of import. Staff morale was quickly sinking. In addition, we had far too many disparate venues of communication with little or no integration between them. Besides IRC, we had forums, the wiki, this site, a journal or two, and probably other ways that were setup in an attempt to address this issue, and some of us were only on one of all those methods.

Despite all of this, some teams were able to more or less run. As the Overlord of dev, I was able to build a group of good and active contributors, and managed to build the current dev VM which is architecturally similar to the production boxes. It should be noted that during bringup (as a factual error pointed out to me during drafting of this post), we were working on a CentOS based VM whose host committed suicide from load.

The editorial team was similarly able to run under these constraints, but only just barely. No one was happy with it. It was for instance, impossible to define a general "style and formatting" guideline, which is why the formatting of stories have been somewhat inconsistent.

Finally, many on the staff (myself included) felt conflicted on how some decisions were being made. For instance, John had us setup our own IRCd instead of remaining on Freenode, and to date, we've yet to have a public referendum on what the site name should be, as had been promised prior to launch. We launched under the premise that we (the staff) need to be a part of a community, and decisions impacting everyone needs to be discussed with the world at large. I know we lost people when we moved to SoylentIRC, and many of us never understood why we moved.

Issues started coming to a head about two weeks ago, due to an internal dispute on the operating system of choice for being run on what would be the final production systems (to date, we're still on the two Linode 2048s I setup at launch), and what the development systems would be. The decision was made without consulting all of the sys team, nor were other teams such as dev consulted at all (and as a member of both teams, I at the very least would have liked to been informed). I will not rehash this argument publicly, as it is only tangentially related to what ultimately happened. At this point, I grabbed John, and had another long one-on-one about both this, and the fact that we had a fundamental communication problem.

What happened was that I was slapped hard, my concerns dismissed as upset over not getting my way, and the communication issue was not addresses. Now, I'm going to be blunt. I nearly walked right then and there, and I fired off a reply that in hindsight I'm not proud of. My problem wasn't due the choice of OS per-se, but that a decision made by essentially one individual, and then backed even after the lack of discussion was brought to light. It wasn't clear that even within the sys team it had majority support (ultimately, I forced a vote on this matter at the staff meeting, and it was 2 for, 2 against).

Due to (pre-planned) traveling to Macau for a conference, there was little I could do at the time, but I was convinced that John needed to be forced to see what was going on. Failing that, a vote of no-confidence would be needed, since I felt that unless something gave, SoylentNews would fail due to mismanagement.

Now, mattie_p had managed to convince John to host an all-hands staff meeting for that Sunday. Although I debating calling for a no-confidence vote at the time, I ultimately settled on standing my soapbox, and forcing the communication issue into the staff as a whole, highlighting the problems with our system, and that the distro issue had prevented us from even setting up a development cluster. The dev VM exists mostly so I would have a way to test changes without unleashing them to the public before even being able to smoke test them. None of these issues were resolved in the course of the meeting.

In the days that followed, I finally managed to recover from jetlag, and starting speaking to staff 1:1, to get their feeling on things. At roughly the same time, John's QA went live. While much of the comments were positive, the staff in general felt ...

Well, felt that it was a bunch of hot air and marketing speak. Or at least that's how I'd put it. None of us had seen the answers beforehand aside from Mattie, and most of us were hoping for more substantive material. I, for one, was hoping that we were close to getting the not-for-profit setup, or at least get a discussion framed around that with concrete information.

I began going around to the staff in turn one-on-one, to try and get a feeling for the site, to see how things are, and what they're feelings on John were. For the most part, there was a sense of "gloom."

Ultimately, it boiled down to three major points:

  • For the most part, no one was really happy with our communication issues, and that they were hamstringing us everywhere.
  • No one felt that they could say anything or complain, especially since John was financing the site.
  • We had no rudder, no visible vision we could work towards, especially since it wasn't clear what John was doing after almost a solid month since we began the project. The QA was just a slap in the face in that light.

With each person, I worked toward collecting support for a no-confidence vote. My plan was that at the next staff meeting, I'd ask John to step aside, and show that our issues had not been addressed, that we were choking on ourself, and that we essentially were becoming everything we left the other site to escape. Should diplomacy fail, I intended to force the issue via a vote of no-confidence, and let the chips fall where they may.

Furthermore, five of us were going to resign should the vote fail. I had talked to roughly half the staff and had already secured a majority, but wanted to make sure everyone knew what was coming, and had a chance to voice concerns BEFORE any changes in management. Fate intervened before that could happen.

John had formally gone on vacation for a few days, but we bumped each other in the staff chat, and myself and a few members of the staff who were up (this was approximately, 4 AM my local time) started began asking questions about progress of the not-for-profit setup (there was none) and seeking redress of the communications problem. What followed was one of the most disturbing chat sessions I've ever been apart of, but after going around on the major points several times, John conceded that he did not have the time necessary to run the site properly, and conceded it over to me.

As a direct result of this impromptu meeting, the head of the sys team resigned. Although no one had asked it of him, John authored a formal resignation in his journal a few hours later, which was re-posted to the main page.

Which brings us to now. As the final meeting was at a time where much of the staff was sleeping, many woke up and found that the world they left yesterday was fairly different than the world of today. There's been a lot of rumors and FUD flying around, but this writeup took considerable time to publish, as I feel that without the full story, people will always be questioning what happened here: was it an unwarranted power grab, was money involved, or was it something more? Furthermore, internally there has been a lot of uncertainty about recent events.

So, now what?

Well, now we move forward. For me, personally, writing this has been a catharsis, allowing me to deal with everything that has happened, and put it behind me. While staff morale has improved, I suspect the majority will need to come to terms with this in their own ways. None of us are happy with out this played out, or the fact that this was necessary (myself included). I'm inviting all to post below with their comments, staff to feel free to post their own version of events, and speak candidly with how things played out. As part of our commitment to open governance, this needs to be aired out and needs to be public.

There will be no reprisal from me for any members who wish to criticize me personally, or my handling of this entire sordid affair. Furthermore, I have an 'open-door' policy on both this and all matters, simply send me a PM or email with any concerns you may have. This has been a black page in our history, and we need to move forward as a group to find our future. For members of the staff who haven't seen the IRC logs or the email transcripts, please contact me in private for a copy.

However, I ask that the #staff logs and the emails remain private. While I do not personally have an issue with my own words (even the 'nuclear letter') going public, I do not have any desire to see John dragged through the mud, especially while he's not here to personally defend himself. Please keep it professional.

As for the site itself, I'll be personally shouldering all fiscal responsibilities until the point we are self-sufficient. For John's stake in this, I have discussed the matter privately with him, and I will compensate him of his costs once I return to the United States and am in a position to send him payment. He has mailed me all his written notes and various passwords which I'm in the process of evaluating.

I will have a formal write-up of our plans for the future in the next few days, as well as how the staff have been re-organized to prevent the management silos problem and communication issues we had before.

For the community who's been affected by the strife in staff, I can only offer you a humble apology, and strive to do better. I know that some have offered to volunteer to join our staff, and have either fallen through the cracks, or got lost in the recent strife. I know there are some who've wanted to join the dev team to whom I haven't been able to respond to properly due to recent events. If you're still interested, I ask that you get in touch with mrcoolbp on the Soylent IRC server.

So this brings me to what is likely your final question is, how do I plan to make it all right?

The answer is I plan to make sure we are and continue to be transparent about the goings-on that happen behind the scenes, and continue to practice full disclosure on matters involving our community. As for recent decisions, I plan to open the floor to get feedback and see if things need to be reversed, or improved.

For the staff, we've got a mailing list (finally) setup, and you should have received an email from mrcoolbp about it. The old organization has been discarded wholesale, and I've implemented a modified version of the Incident Command System. Without going into too many details here, the basic takeaway is that I am the chief officer, and that you either report to me, or to a line officer who acts as a liaison. No one person has more than 7-12 people reporting to them tops. If you have too many people, you make a separate group reporting to you. It is the responsibility of the line officers to try and discuss options within their group, and make the final call on any decision that matters. I'd like to have all staff (but especially the officers) in the staff take the free NIMS classes available online (its about 1-2 hours long self-study course) to learn the basics of ICS, understand how we're organized, and how we change to meet demands.

While its not a traditional management structure, it applies itself well to the "get it done" model, and is something I'm experienced in from my time as a firefighter. We're not a traditional organization, and it doesn't help us to think like it. I will have a more in-depth email on this topic drafted up in a few days, and posted to the wiki that goes into the deeper specifics.

Furthermore, I also plan to make sure that as an organization, we're as transparent as possible, with a guiding manifesto and mission plan, and regular updates (probably biweekly) as to our status. I plan to get the formal name discussion post rolling as quickly as possible once I have a moment to breathe, and make sure that we are made whole again. It might been a bumpy ride from here, but I'd like to think we're looking for a lot of smoother air in our future.

NCommander adds: John has posted comments from the IRC logs from the night of the discussion. In the interest of preventing anything from being removed from context, I've posted both the nuclear letter, and IRC transcripts from the night in question. I leave them here as a record of the truth, and I shall stand to be judged accordingly.

My one request is that people please remember that these were originally private conversations, posted to set the record fully straight. Tempers were flaring, and at least in the nuclear email, it had been prefixed with several days worth of calls and discussion, and where I ultimately lost my cool.

Related Stories

End of Day 1: Systems Update 149 comments

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.

You Asked, Soylent Responds! 93 comments

Based on your questions from a little over 10 days ago, we have our first batch of responses. I want to apologize for the delay, as everything has been moving so quickly that we're still getting our act together in so many ways. Remember that we were still in the very early stages a month ago, so bear with us in our growing pains. We chose a large number of questions, mostly highly rated ones from the community, with some additional questions that I felt deserved answers. Read on for answers from the site leadership.

A Resignation 128 comments

I can no longer sustain the level of activity needed to run SoylentNews, and so I have resigned as leader.

In the end, I was literally begging people to step back and let the site "just run" for a few days while I caught up... alas, to no effect. Issues must be resolved "right here and right now" continuously throughout my day with no end in sight.

NCommander has taken over as project lead - he has access to everything from the registrar down. I understand he has a different vision for the project, which will soon be revealed.

I'm sorry to leave like this, but there's really nothing for it. I'm going back to my AI studies, which happen at a more leisurely pace.

John Barrabas

(And yes, this was an amicable transfer of power. There's no hard feelings on my side.)

[Ed. Note: this is a word for word article based on Barrabas's journal entry.]

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by skullz on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:07PM

    by skullz (2532) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:07PM (#12288)

    I, for one, welcome our new NCommander overlord.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by davester666 on Friday March 07 2014, @06:41AM

      by davester666 (155) on Friday March 07 2014, @06:41AM (#12519)

      Soylent People is News.

      • (Score: 1) by Taco Cowboy on Friday March 07 2014, @11:20AM

        by Taco Cowboy (3489) on Friday March 07 2014, @11:20AM (#12599)

        Testing html code:

        Soylent People is News.

        Result - failed.

        How come we can't do "quoting" on soylentnews ?

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Daniel Dvorkin on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:11PM

    by Daniel Dvorkin (1099) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:11PM (#12291) Journal

    Thank you for letting us know what's going on, and best of luck.

    --
    Pipedot [pipedot.org]:Soylent [soylentnews.org]::BSD:Linux
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Kell on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:13PM

    by Kell (292) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:13PM (#12292)

    I'm just happy that we have a functioning alternative to Slashdot - I still think of it as "Alt Slashdot" in the expectation that when the betapocalypse finally hits, the rest of the Slashdot community will have another homeworld to flee to. In that regard, we are colonists and homesteaders, working to ready the new land for the eventual flood of immigrants. We should expect raised tempers and expect difficulty adjusting as we try to tame the barren wastes that are the desolate expense of the wild internet. But so far we have been successful, and forged ahead to create a new city, freed from the tyranny and despotism of the old world. So, if our leaders struggle and make sacrifices, I am grateful for their efforts.

    --
    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by fishybell on Friday March 07 2014, @12:05AM

      by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @12:05AM (#12332)

      ...we are colonists and homesteaders...

      So when does the cannibalism start? I'm hungry.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:33AM (#12349)

        ...we are colonists and homesteaders...

        So when does the cannibalism start? I'm hungry.

        I was think something along the lines of:

        You have died of dysentery

    • (Score: 1) by toygeek on Friday March 07 2014, @06:07AM

      by toygeek (28) on Friday March 07 2014, @06:07AM (#12514) Homepage

      I myself have wondered what would happen to this site when the honeymoon phase was over. Kell, your outlook on it is very good, and I hope that the entire leadership adopts this optimism.

      --
      There is no Sig. Okay, maybe a short one. http://miscdotgeek.com
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by poutine on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:21PM

    by poutine (106) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:21PM (#12296)

    I called this failure day #1. It's nice hearing about how the problems were fixed, but there's _still_ no fucking plan here. How can you expect people to commit themselves to this site and contribute when there's no consensus or public plan on how things are going to get done? As a developer myself, I'm not so impressed that you managed to run a slashcode instance, which is an open source project, in use by ~dozen production sites, let's see some actual effort here and quit with these BS fluffing/bluffing stories.

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by kobach on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:24PM

      by kobach (55) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:24PM (#12300)

      Hi poutine

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:26PM (#12303)

      poutine--

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:59PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:59PM (#12323)

        poutine-- .

        • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:02AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:02AM (#12327)

          poutine-- ..

          • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:15AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:15AM (#12340)

            poutine-- from a cookie-free browser

            • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by stderr on Friday March 07 2014, @12:36AM

              by stderr (11) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:36AM (#12352) Journal

              poutine-- # From someone who doesn't care if he gets a downmod...

              --
              alias sudo="echo make it yourself #" # ... and get off my lawn!
              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Gaaark on Friday March 07 2014, @03:47AM

                by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @03:47AM (#12464) Journal

                poutine-- #From someone who isn't involved anymore, but will likely get back submitting stories eventually and doesn't care either about downmod

                poutine called it from day #1... loudly and often and negatively...

                poutine needs to mature a bit and get constructive instead of destructively spewing negativity.

                poutine needs to help... not hurt.

                let's see some actual effort here and quit with these BS fluffing/bluffing stories. ...poutine needs to put in an actual effort here and quit with the constant negativity. The world does not revolve around poutine.

                --
                --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Lagg on Friday March 07 2014, @12:24AM

        by Lagg (105) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:24AM (#12343) Homepage Journal
        I understood that reference.
        --
        http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by nobbis on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:31PM

      by nobbis (62) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:31PM (#12306) Homepage Journal

      From TFA
      "I will have a formal write-up of our plans for the future in the next few days, as well as how the staff have been re-organized to prevent the management silos problem and communication issues we had before."

      So we will soon have a plan, and I'm sure your actual efforts will be welcomed

      --
      It's easy to look up when your mind's in the gutter
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by tdk on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:45PM

      by tdk (346) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:45PM (#12317) Homepage Journal

      I'm not so impressed that you managed to run a slashcode instance

      I am. I found slashcode a pain to get running. Others [kuro5hin.org] agree [hulver.com]

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Vanderhoth on Friday March 07 2014, @12:47AM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:47AM (#12360)

        Likewise. I have a degree in computer science, 10 years experience with web servers, databases, C, Cobol, Java, 5 years with perl and PHP and I gave up on slashcode two days in. It's a mess and anyone that could get it running deserves Kudos not a "Woopy fucking do!"

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @07:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @07:10AM (#12527)

          It's actually woup de'fukighng dieu; it's French.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:00AM (#12324)

      As a "developer", maybe you should check the horrid state of slashcode.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by FatPhil on Friday March 07 2014, @08:22AM

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Friday March 07 2014, @08:22AM (#12550) Homepage
        Anyone who looks at slashcode is bound to end up more than a little disturbed and cranky.

        Perhaps poutine's already looked at it...
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:07AM (#12367)

      Still with this? Either contribute or shut the fuck up.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by mrbluze on Friday March 07 2014, @02:17AM

      by mrbluze (49) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:17AM (#12401) Journal

      Hi Poutine, you may be intelligent, you may even be right, but that is not all our takes to be effective, or even useful.

      --
      Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by ticho on Friday March 07 2014, @10:51AM

        by ticho (89) on Friday March 07 2014, @10:51AM (#12588) Homepage Journal

        But he is useful, by providing some constructive criticism. There is too much "you guys are doing awesome job" vibe going around, it is starting to resemble a circle-jerk.

        The job being done is less than awesome. There are lot of fairly trivial bugs, lot of which are of a low-hanging fruit variety, lot of which have been reported within first day, and they are _still_ not fixed (50 char limit for story title is my favourite).

        Only excuses I have heard were that main developer needs to take few days break after the launch (guys, bus factor of 1 is unhealthy), but that was weeks ago.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Yog-Yogguth on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:46PM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:46PM (#13359) Journal

          Constructive criticism is when you offer a working solution or a practical/pragmatic approach to arriving at a working solution. Generalized or broad statements and opinions aren't by themselves constructive criticism no matter whether they are true or false or somewhere in-between.

          Constructive criticism is very difficult, let's reserve use of the term for when it is appropriate.

          Trivial bugs are less important than critical bugs and core functionality: as a complete outsider I have the liberty to say that you should take your 50 character headline bug and stuff it in your 2017 where it belongs :D

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
          • (Score: 2) by ticho on Sunday March 09 2014, @01:11PM

            by ticho (89) on Sunday March 09 2014, @01:11PM (#13550) Homepage Journal

            Trivial? That bug has already stopped me and few others from submitting several interesting stories. That bug is noticeably hurting quality of this site, by only allowing stories which can be summed up in one short soundbyte.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09 2014, @09:11PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09 2014, @09:11PM (#13639)

              Yes, trivial. You wrote it that way:

              There are lot of fairly trivial bugs...(50 char limit for story title is my favourite).

              Of course 50 is too short; it should obviously be a power of two, like 64. Do remember it's a headline and headlines are supposed to be short, broken sentences.

          • (Score: 2) by gottabeme on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:07PM

            by gottabeme (1531) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:07PM (#15204)

            It's a fallacy that criticism must have suggested solutions to be constructive or useful. I don't have to be a doctor to point out that someone has a critical medical problem that needs immediate attention. I don't have to be a structural engineer to point out that a bridge is about to collapse. Simply bringing issues to the attention of those who can fix them can be helpful if they are unaware of them, or unaware of their impact.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by marcello_dl on Friday March 07 2014, @09:16AM

      by marcello_dl (2685) on Friday March 07 2014, @09:16AM (#12565)

      > How can you expect people to commit themselves to this site and contribute when there's no consensus or public plan on how things are going to get done?

      But, do you need it before contributing? is this a site or a marriage?
      As in many open projects, the amount of stuff you contribute is dwarfed by the amount of stuff you get in return.
      So, while we wait for the soylent overlords to get their acts together, just browse and contribute what you feel like. At the worst, put "fuck soylent beta" in your sig and browse elsewhere.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:22PM

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:22PM (#12297) Journal

    Thanks for posting a followup to the original post from John. It is good to clear up some of the confusion about the site, where it is headed, where it has come from and the like. On that note, thank you to all the folks that have contributed, added to the site, submitted stories all the way down to the folks that have posted interesting comments in the threads.

    But...

    With that out of the way, please do focus the site stream to be news. A new visitor to the site could well be turned off thinking that this is another "He said, she said..." drama that is going to drag the place down. Basically, I am suggesting that while all sorts of heated discussions, internal debate and the like is fantastic behind closed doors, when we open the front door, lets be all smiles and a united front.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by mattie_p on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:25PM

      by mattie_p (13) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:25PM (#12301) Journal

      We will, and I'd like to think that has been our focus on the editorial side 'til now, but we promised transparency from the beginning. Revealing information like this is part of what makes us different from other sites. We're ok with showing some warts, as long as we continue to improve.

      ~mattie_p

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Fluffeh on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:35PM

        by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:35PM (#12308) Journal

        The stream has been great so far Mattie (thank you again for making that happen), that's why I am still here and why Pipedot stayed pinned in my browser for less than a day - while SN has replaced my /. pin tabs.

        I just hope that all the staff are mentally engaged with making this the best site that they can, performing their functions bringing them joy and satisfaction and while I certainly agree that some things are needed to make a project like this work, communication, leadership and good management, I have found if people start to get caught up in internal politics and the like, their focus will drift - and I think that everyone involved so far has put in too much effort, birthed a fantastic new site to the internet - and it would be a real tragedy if things got too embroiled and the fantastic momentum you have halted.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Friday March 07 2014, @12:24AM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @12:24AM (#12344) Journal

          Pipedot seems to have flamed out at story number 42.
          Down to one story per day.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by GungnirSniper on Friday March 07 2014, @01:32AM

            by GungnirSniper (1671) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:32AM (#12377) Journal

            Bryan over at |. seems to be a talented programmer, but it seems to be only him working there, and since he re-wrote his own code base [pipedot.org] he may have put himself at an early disadvantage. Although his site was up first, [pipedot.org] there are still unfinished features, including Search. Hopefully he will keep programming his site, the clean implementation may be a useful software product for him to sell, or lead to a different mission than being News for Nerds.

            The early efforts at publicizing AltSlash during the #fuckbeta era at /. gave this site the bulk of the "audience" and potential volunteer base. So the moral of the story is PR matters.

            • (Score: 2, Interesting) by darnkitten on Friday March 07 2014, @01:51AM

              by darnkitten (1912) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:51AM (#12387)

              We should see if we can acquire some of the code from him, and maybe have some devs help him finish.

              Whilst it is obviously a work-in-progress, some of the functionality is beautiful--I still go over there, just to see the improvements.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @02:51AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @02:51AM (#12435)
              can't post anonymous on pipedot BUT the site doesn't tell you till AFTER you try.
            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @11:30AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @11:30AM (#12602)

              He might have gotten more success if he allowed posting without login. Almost every site I've been using where I got a login, I first used quite some time without account, and I'm sure I'm not the only one with this trait. Which means that sites which require an account to participate are usually sites I don't frequent (or if I do, only as "consumer", as with YouTube). And sites I participate on often enough I usually tend to eventually get an account on.

          • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Friday March 07 2014, @03:15AM

            by EvilJim (2501) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:15AM (#12448) Journal

            I submitted an article over there as well as here... immediately rejected here but still in the pipe over there.

          • (Score: 2) by Hyper on Friday March 07 2014, @11:02AM

            by Hyper (1525) on Friday March 07 2014, @11:02AM (#12594)

            pipedot.org [pipedot.org] isn't dead! It't just sleeping!

            Check back. |. has moderation now.

            • (Score: 2) by omoc on Friday March 07 2014, @04:25PM

              by omoc (39) on Friday March 07 2014, @04:25PM (#12757)

              thanks for pointing it out again, I wasn't keeping track on |.
              it seems he is making great progress over there

          • (Score: 1) by mrclisdue on Friday March 07 2014, @03:12PM

            by mrclisdue (680) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:12PM (#12693)

            pipedot is my homepage, because of this:

            http://pipedot.org/feed/ [pipedot.org]

            which was introduced in this posting:

            http://pipedot.org/story/2014-02-24/confessions-of -an-igoogle-user [pipedot.org]

            1. create pipedot account
            2. create feed page
            3. set as homepage
            4. ???
            5. personal rss feed satisfaction

            Kudos to Bryan over there. I believe the sites complement each other.

            cheers,

  • (Score: 3) by koreanbabykilla on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:23PM

    by koreanbabykilla (968) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:23PM (#12298)

    Doesn't sound like a ton of fun. Thanks John, Ncommander and the rest of the SoylentNews staff for slogging through that and providing us all with a great site.

    • (Score: 2) by mrbluze on Friday March 07 2014, @02:06AM

      by mrbluze (49) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:06AM (#12396) Journal

      I don't think any/many of us are willing to give up now. This is a worthwhile project and so far or has been a success in many measures. It's a learning experience and a new community, so it's normal to have problems, what matters is at work through them and keep the purpose in the front of our minds - news, peer review, community.

      --
      Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by robind on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:26PM

    by robind (3) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:26PM (#12302)

    Personally I'm not worried at all. We have a strong community at this point -- no way one person leaving, even someone as pivotal as John is going to stop us.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday March 07 2014, @03:50AM

      by c0lo (156) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:50AM (#12466) Journal

      no way one person leaving, even someone as pivotal as John is going to stop us.

      I'm not worried by "1 person leaving", I'm more worried about 1 person remaining.
      You see:

      For the staff, we've got a mailing list (finally) setup, and you should have received an email from mrcoolbp about it. The old organization has been discarded wholesale, and I've implemented a modified version of the Incident Command System. Without going into too many details here, the basic takeaway is that I am the chief officer, and that you either report to me, or to a line officer who acts as a liaison. No one person has more than 7-12 people reporting to them tops.

      I wonder: how the hell soylentnews actually needs a hierarchy of command, and a hierarchy spanning more than one level?
      Officers? Command Center? (even NCommander?) That's another piece of terminology that's not quite inspiring for my level of confidence.

      But enough with speculation and "feeling of guts worries", I tell you what NCommander:
      if you ever start thinking you are above the soylentnews community, remember it doesn't take much for the community to leave you alone with (perhaps vacuous) illusions of control over "your creation".

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by LowID on Friday March 07 2014, @08:41AM

        by LowID (337) on Friday March 07 2014, @08:41AM (#12556)

        That's why Benevolent Dictatorship For Life plus easy forks work well as a management structure - you get all the benefits of leadership that you don't have in an anarchic system, without the dreadful lock-in.

        As social animals, it seems that humans need a trusted someone launching coherent signals for collaboration to happen. The trick is in not allowing that someone the ability to be entrenched and preventing others from disagreeing.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ticho on Friday March 07 2014, @03:30PM

        by ticho (89) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:30PM (#12708) Homepage Journal

        I wondered about that as well. SN staff seems to be suffering from the "too many chiefs, not enough braves" problem. All it needs is a few devs, a few editors and someone at the helm. All the rest are cruft. Forums, irc, wiki, none of it is needed, definitely not when most stories here barely get above 30 comments.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @08:11AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @08:11AM (#12544)

      I'm not surprised with this turn of events - in fact, I'll be surprised if this did NOT happen. This community was started by a bunch of people with very strong opinions about how a site is managed (migrating away from the said site), and it's very likely that they didn't have a united vision. Nothing wrong with that as long as the show goes on.
      However, thanks for everything so far & good luck in the future!

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:29PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:29PM (#12304) Homepage Journal

    Imagine, if you will, someone who works for DICE Holdings [slashdotmedia.com] posting his letter of resignation right SMACK on /.'s front page, then his replacement posting a lengthy Mea Culpa, also on the front page, just a couple days later, as well as going on for pages about what he was going to do to keep his staff happy.

    Keep Up The Good Work!

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 3) by tynin on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:36PM

      by tynin (2013) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:36PM (#12310) Journal

      Some serious geek drama, that is for sure. Still, kind of refreshing seeing this level of frankness. I for one continue to welcome our new overlords.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @06:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @06:48AM (#12521)

      Soylent is 1 month old so we can forgive and forget this lulzy drama.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by tdk on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:31PM

    by tdk (346) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:31PM (#12305) Homepage Journal

    For anyone interested in reading some of the background, the IRC logs are here http://logs.sylnt.us/ [sylnt.us]
    and the forum is here http://forums.soylentnews.org/ [soylentnews.org]
    The IRC channel can be joined here http://chat.soylentnews.org/ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by tdk on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:41PM

      by tdk (346) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:41PM (#12312) Homepage Journal

      I should have said, the older logs which are more relevant are here: http://www.pg.gda.pl/~jkozicki/irc/ [pg.gda.pl]

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Barrabas on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:59PM

      by Barrabas (22) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:59PM (#12322) Journal

      If anyone's interested, the log containing the aforementioned conversation:

      http://www.pg.gda.pl/~jkozicki/irc/2014.03.04.staf f [pg.gda.pl]

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Barrabas on Friday March 07 2014, @12:18AM

      by Barrabas (22) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:18AM (#12341) Journal

      If you like high drama (and let's face it - who doesn't :-), here are some selected excerpts from the IRC logs.

      Everything has context of course. The full logs are available here [pg.gda.pl] if anyone is interested. (The log link was already published above, despite NCommander's statement.)

      22:03 NCommander: I haven't gone on hiatus with the rest of the dev team. I was really fried, and yesterday was my first day off. Is there ANY(!) chance we can not devolve into internecine fighting until I catch my breath PLEASE???
      22:03 Barrabas, I don't see how this is fighting. THese are fundamental issues I raised weeks ago, and nothing has been done.

      22:04 NCommander: Is there NO WAY I CAN CONVINCE YOU to just GIVE IT A REST for a week or so? You're in China, for gosh's sake.
      22:05 Barrabas, I'm not taking this to PM.

      22:49 Recognize that there has been a mountain of work, and I've been communicating and coordinating for 12-16 hours since the begininng. Through the sys hiatus and the week after.
      22:49 Barrabas, then delgate it
      22:50 So, when I said I was fried I wasn't making that up. I have to step away for at least a day or two to refuel.
      22:50 So you expect those days to change then?
      22:50 12-16 hours/day. All days, including weekends.
      22:50 Soylent, or real life?
      22:50 (real life wor)
      22:51 NCommander: What real life? Everything's been SoylentNews for me since the beginning.
      22:52 I can't get a spare hour to watch a movie, and I take my notebook with me to the gym to write documents between exercises.

      23:02 NCommander: I'd like to have the vision statement don, I really would. But ya see, when you spend all your time coordinating things, it's hard enough to find time to sleep.
      23:03 That is a testament to our structure not working at the moment.
      23:03 Barrabas: to most of us it seems you are not coordinating anything
      23:03 if there was some kind of voting going on, I would vote on NCommander to take the lead.
      23:03 Barrabas, I'm going to be blunt. I'm not sure how you've managed to go that long without writing it, because I could have written a manifesto on what I want this site to be in a day. I wrote a partial one when we went up.
      23:03 NCommander: Is it so critical that all these things that "must happen now" really happen now? I mean, can't we take a break and catch our breath?
      23:03 Barrabas, yes, it is. We already did that.

      • (Score: 1) by cwix on Friday March 07 2014, @12:39AM

        by cwix (873) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:39AM (#12355)

        I hate to see you go. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you go on to, and I thank you and all of the SN staff for the work it takes to run this site.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by SecurityGuy on Friday March 07 2014, @12:47AM

        by SecurityGuy (1453) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:47AM (#12361)

        Interesting. Personally, I'd say if you guys are running this thing such that you're burning out already, you're doing it wrong. Don't turn a labor of love into labor you hate.

        I've also never seen a mission statement that was worth reading, let alone writing.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @02:22AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @02:22AM (#12405)

          23:05 [@NCommander] This isn't filing taxes, its a vision plan to outline our future, and can be somewhat vague where it can be
          23:06 [@NCommander] Barrabas, and writing isn't easy for me, I just happen to be damn verbose
          23:06 [@Barrabas] NCommander: You did that. I'm still where you were at first release.
          23:06 [@NCommander] How can we pretend to run an organization if we don't have defined princaples to run it
          23:07 [@NCommander] To register a NFP, we need defined bylaws, a full business plan, explination of reveune sources
          23:07 [@NCommander] (at least in NYS)
          23:07 [@NCommander] that's a shitton of writing requiring us having stuff on paper

      • (Score: 1) by mrbluze on Friday March 07 2014, @04:20AM

        by mrbluze (49) on Friday March 07 2014, @04:20AM (#12482) Journal

        What have you done to this IRC log, it's totally inaccurate!

        --
        Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
        • (Score: 2) by mrbluze on Friday March 07 2014, @04:22AM

          by mrbluze (49) on Friday March 07 2014, @04:22AM (#12483) Journal

          I retract that, I misread the log. Sorry John.

          --
          Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Barrabas on Friday March 07 2014, @01:48AM

      by Barrabas (22) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:48AM (#12385) Journal

      For more complete transparency, here is the text of the E-mails which were sent prior to this.

      For context, Zak (zford head of sys) had decided to provision the servers using CentOS. Michael (NCommander) thought that was the wrong decision, and had been repeatedly presenting his disagreement.

      These E-mails went out, then it was brought up in the staff IRC meeting, then the IRC conversation noted above happened.

      I apologize for the drama, but the long and short of it is that I just got tired of arguing with him. Again and again the subject was brought up, with no end in sight.

      I didn't want to resign, but it seemed the only way to get time off. When Michael took over and overrode the OS decision, Zak politely walked away.

      Here's what NCommander and Zak got:

      I'm told that my decisions are not communicated clearly, and that as a consequence I am perceived as a bad leader for not making any.

      Zak's choice of OS stands. He has technical reasons, he's got community consensus, and it's his group so it's his decision to make.

      When I said that I don't micromanage the overlords, I mean that I won't override their decisions, I will instead remove them from their position. This situation doesn't come close to that level of action.

      If Michael wants Zak to revisit this decision, he needs to show that either a) Zak is going against community consent, or b) present a list of reasons why choosing Ubuntu is more valuable than CentOS, and convince Zak and his community that his choice is better.

      It's important to have a working development process - we need to show the community that they can contribute, and to start improving the site. Therefore, we will not revisit the OS question for some time, perhaps as long as two weeks. When development changes flow smoothly from contributers to dev to production, we can consider making changes.

      Michael has to come to grips with this.

      Zak has to communicate better. This situation arose from Zak sending a PDF which omitted the wiki information. Zak is a manager, he has to describe and frame his decisions clearly and definitively to others. Zak also can't avoid communicating - dealing with people is part of his job, so he needs to make firm decisions without avoiding conversation.

      Zak and Michael: Play nicely or I'll tie your tails together and hang you from the clothesline!

      Mat Peck (Mattie) is general manager, he handles the day-to-day operations of the site. There will be an announcement in my journal today. He will handle disputes and has full authority to adjudicate between overlords.

      Mattie is also the current head of dev, with Michael second in command, with the understanding that leadership will transition to Michael as fast as Michael can learn management skills. Mattie will defer to Michael on decisions of a technical nature, Michael will defer to Mattie on matters of management style.

      In public, I will announce Michael as head of dev, but this is the nuanced real situation.

      Mattie is a long-time professional manager with many years experience, and has successfully managed large and small groups. He's also ex-military and knows when to take charge and make decisions.

      Based on my vision of SoylentNews being a vehicle for people to grow, and perhaps to grow into new areas, I've asked Mattie to train people as managers. We have many brilliant and highly technical people who simply have little experience managing people, and Mattie's job is to help them learn and grow.

      The first practical example of this is Mattie training Michael to run dev.

      Mattie is a resource - use him.

      That is all. I have spoken Let it be said, let it be written.

      R. Barrabas

      Afterwards, I followed up with the following E-mail to NCommander:

      I have to make this brief because my cold came back & I'm running another
      fever, so please don't read too much into the tone.

      I hope you weren't put out by the tone of my previous E-mail. As head of dev
      you've got the best seat in the house, and you shouldn't even spend time
      worrying about which OS we use. There are a lot of more interesting projects in
      dev and you're the right person to run that department.

      And know that when it comes your turn I'll back your decisions about the
      direction of dev.

      Also, note that I'm not a manager *either*, and I'm still trying to figure out
      the right tone to take. If my previous E-mail seemed a little harsh, know it
      wasn't meant as a slap in anyone's face.

      And in response, NCommander then sent this:

      Replies inline.

      On Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 4:14 PM, Rajstennaj Barrabas
        wrote:
      >
      > I'm told that my decisions are not communicated clearly, and that as a
      > consequence I am perceived as a bad leader for not making any.
      >
      > Zak's choice of OS stands. He has technical reasons, he's got community
      > consensus, and it's his group so it's his decision to make.
      >

      Where is this consensus? What are the technical reasons. Where was the
      discussion. Where *are* the logs? Where is an IRC discussion, email
      thread, or anything. I've been pinging zford until I brought this to
      your attention, and I've been on IRC constantly for the last week on
      both Freenode and here.

      I said I would accept the decision *if* there was consensus, or if I
      was overruled by vote. However, by definition, there can not be a
      consensus if there has been no discussion. The *only* reason I'm aware
      of the centos decision was because I got automated emails from Linode,
      not because anyone said anything.

      What really irritates the crap out of me right now is you have gone on
      and on how we are going to be a consensus made by the community. The
      community (as in the greater community involving staff and readers as
      a whole) wouldn't have known about this, and to prevent airing our
      dirty laundry, I haven't said anything, but if you want to see the
      *real* community hands at work, I'll air this from the fucking
      montanas.

      The fact that you can write this is an email Jon really is fucking
      hypocritical. As I've said before, my problem here is how you've gone
      on and on about how we will make decisions. The reason the fucking
      site got launched is that I sat down and made it happen, decided a
      plan, picked the hosts, etc. What major decisions have we successfully
      made from them? We're in damn bubbles flubbing around with our heads
      so far up our asses its not even funny because we can't communicate
      with the way things are; we don't even have a proper mailing list for
      all staff.

      I'm going to make this clear, this situation *has* to change, or we
      will die because we have our collective heads so far up our ass we
      will never see daylight.

      > When I said that I don't micromanage the overlords, I mean that I won't
      > override their decisions, I will instead remove them from their position. This
      > situation doesn't come close to that level of action.
      >

      What happens when two teams deadlock? Who mediates the discussion?
      Ideally, dev and sys should be using the same OS. One might argue that
      decision of what we build on is dev's and sys's role is to build the
      production version of was dev comes up with. This is a decision that
      impacts multiple teams, and its been made in a void. I can easily get
      a poll from current members of dev on their opinion. As far as I can
      tell, only two people have talked about this, out of four members of
      sys, and aside from myself, no one in dev.

      > If Michael wants Zak to revisit this decision, he needs to show that either a)
      > Zak is going against community consent, or b) present a list of reasons why
      > choosing Ubuntu is more valuable than CentOS, and convince Zak and his
      > community that his choice is better.
      >

      Jon, this is quite possibly the biggest load of bull I've read in
      awhile, and we discussed it on phone on exactly these two points. I'm
      giving Zak the benefit of the doubt here, and assuming that my words
      have not been relayed, or my desire to discuss this has not been made
      clear.

      a. By definition, a decision that I find out about due to Linode
      sending AUTOMATED emails due to the issues w/ cloud hosted CentOS can
      not be considered community consent. I have asked about this, received
      two short and terse emails about it, and that was that. Jon: I made
      ths point to you on the phone, and I'm am utterly shocked that you are
      considering this consensus. Maybe I'm sounding like a broken record,
      but this isn't a management system, its a barely organized
      clusterfuck.

      You said that a decision must be made by consensus. I've hilighted and
      illustrated what I believe a consensus requires, and the fact of the
      matter is that by writing this email, and *loudly* making the point.

      b. Part of the previous emails I have made have hilighted my concerns
      with CentOS, and I have considerable technical reasons why I feel
      CentOS is not a great fit here. Furthermore, at this point, I think
      its not unreasonable to ask what technical or political benefits
      CentOS brings. So far, the *only* two reasons I've heard for CentOS is
      its what Zak knows, and that 389 Directory Service is supposedly only
      available for Fedora and CentOS. As I would have pointed out in a
      discussion, that package is available supported in Ubuntu 12.04
      (apt-get install 389)

      We've had considerable issues with Linode due to the use of CentOS;
      its clearly not popular for use with VPS or cloud providers as the
      image itself has had issues due to /dev/shm, and is now having issues
      being backed up. While these aren't problems specific to the use of
      CentOS, I'm questioning the wisdom of not using something we know is
      problem free.

        I've not seen one person beside myself ask zford for a justification
      on why a change is necessary. I was handed a PDF explaining the
      technical aspects of how to build the final production cluster. What I
      have seen is what essentially has been a declaration that this OS has
      been changing. That document did not include anything relating to
      operating system decision, and I had assumed based on earlier
      discussions we'd be staying on Ubuntu 12.04. When that document that
      posted to the wiki, a line was added about CentOS, which I never saw.

        I would like to re-iterate on this point, as you currently have an
      Ubuntu Core Developer *ON STAFF*, as well as access to Canonical
      Corporate Support if we ever needed it. CentOS is a *community*
      supported rebuild of RHEL, and can only fix bugs that Red Hat
      Corperate fixes. For most other distros, if anyone comes up with a bug
      fix, I can land it. Unless we're paying for RHEL corperate support, we
      are in a worse position with CentOS than we are with any other distro.

      > It's important to have a working development process - we need to show the
      > community that they can contribute, and to start improving the site. Therefore,
      > we will not revisit the OS question for some time, perhaps as long as two
      > weeks. When development changes flow smoothly from contributers to dev to
      > production, we can consider making changes.
      >
      > Michael has to come to grips with this.
      >

      That's fucking rich. You do realize I work in open source, with a LOT
      of volunteers, and have to make a balancing act between corporate and
      uncooperative, and I'm the one who has to "get a grip"?

      I said that I would accept changing OS after a proper discussion has
      been made, and a form where I can bring up the various issues I have
      with CentOS. Please show me where any discussion on this was made on
      an email I was either Cc-ed on, a chat in a public IRC channel which I
      acknowledged it.

      Incidently, this seems to be a good time to clarify the dev teams
      operating system position. The dev team will be standardizing on
      Ubuntu as our platform for the foreseable future, as we have already
      gotten Slash working on it, it provides a good environment for
      developers to work on (including basically all the DEs anyone could
      want), and it is what the development VM, *and* development cluster
      (which is clearly dev's domain) will be running.

      The sys team is free to use whatever they like for systems within
      their domain, but must understand that any support and help with Slash
      will be limited as we're not personally using it. I'd be willing to
      have a discussion on changing the operating system which clearly lists
      specific technical problems with Ubuntu, reasons on why CentOS is a
      superior system to work on for developers. Assuming the majority of
      the community thinks its worthwhile to invest resources in changing
      the environment over and recreating working settings, we can work out
      a reasonable timefame to do so.

      Until doing so, we'll be staying on what we've been using, known to
      work, and easy to support.

      (and if this sounds like soar grapes, let's make it clear that my hand
      has been forced and yet I'm still willing to have the discussion. and
      that's a fucking lot more than you've given me. However, until this
      discussion happens, you can expect very little help from us as none of
      us are using slash on CentOS, or know of what problems may lurk.)

      > Zak has to communicate better. This situation arose from Zak sending a PDF
      > which omitted the wiki information. Zak is a manager, he has to describe and
      > frame his decisions clearly and definitively to others. Zak also can't avoid
      > communicating - dealing with people is part of his job, so he needs to make
      > firm decisions without avoiding conversation.
      >

      Let's not distort facts here. The PDF was sent first, I provided some
      feedback on SSL and IPv6, then I signed off on it both as a member of
      sys (that I agree with the architecture), and as a member of dev (that
      our development can support this layout), the PDF was copied to the
      wiki, THEN the CentOS line was added. The only reason I found out
      about the CentOS business is because Linode started generating emails,
      and then I send an email to Zak asking him about it.

      I brought this to both your and Mattie's attention that I was
      concerned about communication. I discussed the matter in depth with
      mattie, with a clear note that after today, this discussion needs to
      be email only due to TZ differences. I was offline on Wednesday due to
      Panama->NYC flying. Looking at my email and IRC backload, I've seen no
      progress on discussing things.

      > Zak and Michael: Play nicely or I'll tie your tails together and hang you from
      > the clothesline!
      >

      Jon: Look around you, and tell me this is a healthy setup for this site.

      You're tone in this email makes it clear you have no idea what the
      problems going on here, especially given the other email you sent
      here. And this isn't a matter of sour grapes, this is you
      fundamentally missing the point I tried to raise on Saturday. However,
      as you've already cleared Zak's decision, it appears the sys team will
      be using CentOS. Dev has not had a discussion if it will follow sys, I
      have no desire to raise it with dev, but if the item is raised by
      someone taking the time to write out a long email explaining why
      CentOS is the best thing since sliced bread and our lives are better
      for using it, I'll make sure its properly moderated, sent to all
      active devs, and personally explain at length why I think its a bad
      idea, and have the floor be open to others. If the general consensus
      from the dev team is a strong advocation for, we can work out a
      migration plan, and determine the best process to switching to CentOS,
      having identified any possible problem points (like Linode itself)
      well in advance.

      > Mat Peck (Mattie) is general manager, he handles the day-to-day operations of
      > the site. There will be an announcement in my journal today. He will handle
      > disputes and has full authority to adjudicate between overlords.
      >

      Why then are you involved in this discussion? If this is *really* the
      case, Mattie should have been one to send an email like this.

      > Mattie is also the current head of dev, with Michael second in command, with
      > the understanding that leadership will transition to Michael as fast as Michael
      > can learn management skills. Mattie will defer to Michael on decisions of a
      > technical nature, Michael will defer to Mattie on matters of management style.
      >

      I'm mostly willing to defer at this point because Mattie getting shit
      done. Jon, you told me personally that during our bringup, I "pissed a
      lot of people off", and "overruled you at times", and I agreed to have
      Mattie as manager. Given your handling of this situation and our
      recent management woes, I think its better to have pissed off people
      and having someone who knows what they're doing running operations.

      I'd like to know who specifically I pissed off, so I can go make
      amends to them, and make it clear what's going on. I'm done playing
      games because I'm beginning to question if these people existed. As
      for the "overruled you at times", can you honestly say that if we were
      running like this during launch week, do you think we will have gotten
      out the door? To be frank, if I overruled you, its because I have the
      experience to develop a project like this, and our inability to make
      even simple decisions or discuss it.

      > In public, I will announce Michael as head of dev, but this is the nuanced
      > real situation.
      >

      There's truth and then there's reality. While Mattie on paper may be
      the head of dev, realistically, I don't think he's going to have much
      success in this role. He'd be far more successful managing entire
      project into one collective well oiled machine. Dev is mostly informal
      with drive by contributions, and slight encourgement that I give
      various people in channel. As such, I've gotten a steady patches and
      repair work which has helped reduced my workload. Until we get someone
      else willing to put significant effort and not drive by contributions,
      the dev team exists more as a theoretical concept then an actual team.

      Furthermore, there's a concept of "code talks", where if you don't do
      something and just bring it up (or demand it), you will likely either
      be ignored, or run into resistance. I can ask nicely and sometimes get
      someone to do something because I've got respect in that position. I
      suspect mattie will have significantly more trouble in this
      department.

      > Mattie is a long-time professional manager with many years experience, and has
      > successfully managed large and small groups. He's also ex-military and knows
      > when to take charge and make decisions.
      >

      And who was working with me on this situation before you went and
      wrote this email. I ended up taking today off from SoylentNews because
      I was seething by time I was done with it. I do respect Mattie's
      opinion, and ability to get shit done.

      > Based on my vision of SoylentNews being a vehicle for people to grow, and
      > perhaps to grow into new areas, I've asked Mattie to train people as managers.
      > We have many brilliant and highly technical people who simply have little
      > experience managing people, and Mattie's job is to help them learn and grow.
      > The first practical example of this is Mattie training Michael to run dev.
      >
      > Mattie is a resource - use him.
      >

      I have been. However, by butting in here, I've had to draw my line in
      the sand, and I talked to Mattie before sending this email. I'm
      curious if you talked to him before sending yours.

      I'm pretty sure I know the answer on that one already.

      > That is all. I have spoken Let it be said, let it be written.
      >
      > R. Barrabas
      >

      Michael

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @05:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @05:09AM (#12497)

        Soylentnews is fuckups.

        Y'all need to get over your egos. This site is an abortion, and will quickly fade from the map.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @11:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @11:35AM (#12604)

      There's a nice box titled "SoylentNews" on the left, whose content currently reads: "You should update your organisation template and put some links here linking back to your site."

      I think it would be a good idea to put those links there.

  • (Score: 2) by SleazyRidr on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:35PM

    by SleazyRidr (882) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:35PM (#12309)

    I think everyone here understands that new projects don't always go the way you planned them to go. I think taking a leading role in something like this is very hard to balance: when to I listen to other people vs. when do I just step in and make a decision. I'm sure you're up to the challenge.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by n1 on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:41PM

    by n1 (993) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:41PM (#12313) Journal

    I very much appreciate this post, albeit a bit lengthy.

    Trying to maintain the balance between consensus and getting things done is difficult. We can't expect instantaneous action, especially as the site is being run by volunteers at this time. My feelings would be very much on the non-profit side and continue with the transparency even if it is painful at times. It will take longer but the end result will be better for everyone.

    I am very grateful for the dedication all the team has shown since the site went public, it requires a lot of time and energy in return for little/no appreciation. To the rest of the community, the staff are very much here to listen and do take what we say on board, this is a labour of love for most of them but there are only so many hours in the day. We all have to work together to make the community we want, and it is not set in absolutes of your perceptions, compromise will be necessary from all of us.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Friday March 07 2014, @12:11AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @12:11AM (#12336) Journal

      Trying to maintain the balance between consensus and getting things done is difficult.

      Understatement of the year award.

      Consensus management really never works anywhere for any length of time.

      I'm still worried John and NCommander both seen to be money out of pocket,
      And I'd like to see some way to throw some paypal money in the soylent cup.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @12:24AM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @12:24AM (#12345) Homepage Journal

        There's an explicate reason why the tip jar isn't open. We can't, unless we're a registered non-profit. Specifically, at the moment, in legal terms, this site is just a fun personal project that I happen to own. If we start collecting donations and such, without being a recognized 501(c), we've become a sole proprietorship business.

        While I might be exaggerating stuff, if we start collecting money without a plan, and especially without a 501(c), it opens an *ugly* can of worms that I don't want to deal with. So, keep those donations ready, but know it will be some time before we can open the tip jar.

        --
        Still always moving
        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday March 07 2014, @12:44AM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @12:44AM (#12357) Journal

          Well if not money, How many pizzas will fit in your fridge? ;-)

          On a serious note, perhaps some smart legal/tax guys reading this could offer advice on the best structure to recover costs, without subjecting the volunteers to tax issues.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1) by carguy on Friday March 07 2014, @01:45AM

          by carguy (568) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @01:45AM (#12383)

          > We can't, unless we're a registered non-profit.

          I am not a tax accountant, but I believe that in the USA, anyone can give a gift of up to USD $14,000 to anyone else -- with no tax consequences to either person (not company). Another number -- wages less than USD $600/year do not require the payer to file a 1099 IRS form reporting the wages paid.

          I'm very grateful for all the hard work and I'd like to give *someone* (a person or persons, not to SN) a small gift to show my appreciation.

          • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @03:33AM

            by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @03:33AM (#12457) Homepage Journal

            You are *technically* correct on both counts, but I don't want to get donations for myself when I'm just part of a team. While I might run the show, I'm not in it for the money, and the donations should go for running the site. While I won't stop anyone else from handing out a BTC wallet address or such, I'm not accepting donations at this time.

            --
            Still always moving
        • (Score: 1) by morgauxo on Friday March 07 2014, @11:36PM

          by morgauxo (2082) on Friday March 07 2014, @11:36PM (#12997)

          My understanding is that if you plan on getting a 501c3 you can put off paying taxes for some length of time before hand. So long as you do get the 501c3 you then don't have to pay those back taxes. If you don't get it though you do. I would definitely look up the details and then only rely on this if you are REALLY sure you are going to go for that 501c3. It is a LOT of work!

        • (Score: 2) by Pav on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:05AM

          by Pav (114) on Saturday March 08 2014, @11:05AM (#13154)

          Have you though about asking the legal eagles at FSF for help with setting up a non-profit? Slashcode seems to be GPL2 (or later), so you should be good. ;)

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @12:37AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @12:37AM (#12353) Homepage Journal

      There's a running joke among the staff that every-time I open backslash, the editorial team instinctive cringes (all my posts are edited and are signed off as those they were normal story articles).

      In all seriousness though, transparency is easy (and nice) to talk about, but in truth its hard to implement,. It is *easy* to have things cloak and dagger, to talk behind the scenes and just unleash them on the community. Its even to pretend you're being transparent by just announcing you're doing something BEFORE you do it. No one likes to be wrong, and its why shit like beta gets forced through; the decision was made behind the scenes, and due to the echo-chamber of like-minded people.

      We do have a private IRC channel, and private mailing list, we have that because sometimes we need to vent, and sometimes we stay stuff in the heat of the moment that will then be copy and pasted for years to come. My carrier has been in open source, and I've had to walk this tightrope before when I was the tech lead in my old team, managing community expectations with corporate requirements. The important bit is to make sure that the discussions are public (and discussed in public meetings), end results of our discussions *are* public, and that a summary of the rationalizations go along with it. I encourage all members of the staff to speak candidly, and I said before, I will not reprise anyone for disagreeing with me, or my views.

      No one held a gun to my head and told me to write this, but it was the right thing to do, and I will not stand here and tell you that "this site is for the community", and not explain the events leading up to this, or where we're going from this.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by clone141166 on Friday March 07 2014, @01:25AM

        by clone141166 (59) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:25AM (#12373)

        Thanks NCommander, and Barrabas too, for all of your hard work in making SoylentNews what it is today.

        It's really great that you took the time to do what felt right and explain what happened in detail. This level of openness is a very exciting change from the way most sites/businesses/communities are often run.

        It might be interesting to let some of the other staff members have a go at writing up the weekly/monthly/etc. status updates for the site though - provided they actually want to, and feel up to it. I realise the updates are built up from the information that other staff members have passed along anyway, but it would be interesting to have some direct perspective and insights from them as well; and would give an even greater feeling of openness to SoylentNews.

    • (Score: 1) by PlasticCogLiquid on Friday March 07 2014, @01:52AM

      by PlasticCogLiquid (3669) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:52AM (#12389)

      Hopefully this doesn't go like that old RetroRemakes.com site that had the coolest admin ever, he died, and it got transferred to a douchebag that has monetized it to no extent & continues to do that to this day.

      • (Score: 1) by n1 on Friday March 07 2014, @02:20AM

        by n1 (993) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:20AM (#12403) Journal

        From what i've seen (not representative, just observation), it's more likely to be the reverse. Barrabas appeared to be a lot more inclined to make it into a for-profit venture, to monetize whereas the other staff members, NCommander included have been much stronger on the idea of a non-profit community organization. If this site becomes a for-profit company, then we might as well have all stayed at the old site.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by clone141166 on Friday March 07 2014, @03:08AM

          by clone141166 (59) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:08AM (#12445)
          While it may appear this way, to my knowledge Barrabas was always interested in choosing the best method to suit the needs of the site and the wishes of the community. He repeatedly stated that it would have to be a community decision on how the site would be run. After listening to the community, I think things have begun to bend towards a non-profit model as this seems to be the majority-preferred option.

          Here's a little excerpt from the ##altslashdot IRC channel from back before the site was even running:

          <clone141166> so when soylent news takes off will our fearless overlord Barrabas be able to refuse when Dice starts dumping truckloads of crisp shiny $100 bills all over his lawn? :D<br/>
          <@Barrabas> clone141166: This project is powered by truckloads of burning investment money.

  • (Score: 2) by linsane on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:48PM

    by linsane (633) on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:48PM (#12318)

    Crikey, as someone who doesn't frequent IRC, what a snapshot of a soap opera and definitely different from T.O.P.

    Good luck to the rest of thr crew and here's to a future of intrigue, scandals and gossip sprinkled with geekery... Keep the news stories and comments coming too though please :-)

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @12:08AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @12:08AM (#12334) Homepage Journal

      Most of the soap opera was over emails and private communication, and as previously stated, transparency was virtually nil. There is a sense of responsibility that we don't drag in members of the community over our internal bullshit; we're trying to be a professional organization, and none of us like having our dirty laundry hanging out.

      However, it is our responsibility that you (the community) at least have an understanding on whats going on, why we are doing things, and how things are done. Several members of the staff reviewed this before it went live to make sure there were no factual errors, and that I got all the keypoints of this month long drama.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by Barrabas on Friday March 07 2014, @03:21AM

        by Barrabas (22) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:21AM (#12452) Journal

        Michael, the excerpt from your post (below, first) doesn't reflect the E-mail that you and mattie were sent (below, second). Is this a factual error?

        You posted:

        mattie_p was made a "manager of everything" in an attempt to try and solve our communication issues, but even he had no authority to actually do anything, and had to defer to John on any matter of import.

        My E-mail to you and mattie, long before the staff meeting said:

        Mat Peck (Mattie) is general manager, he handles the day-to-day operations of
        the site. There will be an announcement in my journal today. He will handle
        disputes and has full authority to adjudicate between overlords.

        I'm a little confised at this. Can you elaborate?

        • (Score: 1) by tibman on Friday March 07 2014, @03:53PM

          by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @03:53PM (#12740)

          I'd say you guys should take this stuff offline but it's all out here now, lol. If Mattie was the judge, it is still up to the individual overlords to bring it to him for judgement. If Mattie was their boss he wouldn't wait for his underlings to decide it was time to involve him. Mattie would recognize a problem via reporting/meetings and put everyone into a room and solve it.

          It sounds like because everyone was in their own silo it was difficult to resolve conflicts. Lots of peers and no hierarchy. You can do the no hierarchy thing if there is a communication system in place to get consensus. It also works if each silo does whatever it pleases and other silos just have to deal with it. This later scenario sounds like where the staff was headed. You'd have sys running CentOS and dev running Ubuntu. Everything runs perfect within their own silo but cross silo exchange would blow.

          --
          SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:49PM

    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Thursday March 06 2014, @11:49PM (#12319) Homepage
    Thanks for being open and honest, that's what we need most at the moment.

    I will admit that the Q&A left me mostly dis-satisfied. This is quite the opposite. Previously there was mention of a mythical destination, but no mention of the direction we need to travel in in order to get there. I'm far more confident that people know where forward gear and the indicators are now.

    I wouldn't say *everyone* was afraid to criticise - I do remember quite a long rant on the IRC channel by [someone who I shan't name] that got him mistaken for [someone else I shan't name]. I can see why that comparison was made.

    Here's to the future.
    --
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @12:19AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @12:19AM (#12342) Homepage Journal

      There was some rants, but no one wanted to be the person who suggested that John step aside. The Q&A left a bad taste in my mouth personally. Had there been a definitive plan within, events might have played out differently, but it is what it is.

      Since I had no warning I was going to take over the site (effective immediately), I've been scrambling to get everything on paper, and writing long posts that will likely make the editorial team find me, break my fingers, and hide my keyboard so I can't inflict another novella on them.

      --
      Still always moving
  • (Score: 2) by regift_of_the_gods on Friday March 07 2014, @12:02AM

    by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:02AM (#12326)

    It's a reminder that the human aspects are the hardest part of starting up this type of endeaver, especially with no clear owner or recognized indispensable individual.

    I won't be surprised if we hear from John Barrabas in a different venture down the road.

    • (Score: 2) by unitron on Friday March 07 2014, @12:35AM

      by unitron (70) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:35AM (#12351) Journal

      "I won't be surprised if we hear from John Barrabas in a different venture down the road."

      I'd rather hear that, after a well-deserved and no doubt much needed rest, he returned here and joined back in, even if only at the pace of a mere mortal with a life in the real world.

      --
      something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by dereismdave on Friday March 07 2014, @12:09AM

    by dereismdave (897) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:09AM (#12335)

    And put on your socks. Forward with the mission. As pointed out if you must know the details of "why", there are multiple places to go read about it. Soylent News should not be one of the resources. Remove this submission and carry on. That is all.

    --
    "If you aren't gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all." - Johnny Cash
  • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Friday March 07 2014, @12:28AM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:28AM (#12346) Journal

    tl;dr NCommader went to Macau.

    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 2) by unitron on Friday March 07 2014, @12:29AM

    by unitron (70) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:29AM (#12347) Journal

    "...and an informal goal was to launch by the end of the Slashcott."

    If I'd known you were going to make the task all that much more difficult by imposing that on yourselves as an artificial deadline, I'd have made it much longer to begin with.

    --
    something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @12:40AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @12:40AM (#12356) Homepage Journal

      I find that when you need to do something right, you set yourself what seems to be an impossible goal then accomplish it. It lets you focus on what matters, and gets people to accept that things have to be done (the nut up or shutup matter).

      The fact of the matter is we could have tinkered until the site was absolutely perfect, we have a mathatical proof behind the moderation system, and we still would have not have launched. How many projects simply fail because nothing ever goes out the door?

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 1) by cwix on Friday March 07 2014, @12:47AM

        by cwix (873) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:47AM (#12362)

        I agree, you needed to strike while the iron was hot. Thank you for all of the hard work you and the rest of staff put into SN. I just hope that this incident doesn't cause a decline in the viewership/commenting.

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Freeman on Friday March 07 2014, @12:46AM

    by Freeman (732) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:46AM (#12358) Journal

    There are a couple grammatical errors in your post that hurt the OCD soul. XD "None of us are happy with out this played out, or the fact that this was necessary (myself included)." should have read "None of us are happy with how ..." and "So this brings me to what is likely your final question is, how do I plan to make it all right?" should have read "... what is likely your final question, ...". Good hear that things are moving along. Instead of this ending in a green pile of plasma.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:03AM (#12365)

      "Good hear that things are moving along."

    • (Score: 1) by suxen on Friday March 07 2014, @02:37AM

      by suxen (3225) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:37AM (#12419)

      Obligatory grammar mistake in post that corrects grammar mistakes...

      Where you say, "Good hear that things," what you meant to say was, "Good to hear".

      Maybe the good news is that you're not actually OCD and you can finally tell your shrink to f' off and start living your life as a normal person.

      • (Score: 1) by Freeman on Friday March 07 2014, @07:07PM

        by Freeman (732) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:07PM (#12870) Journal

        I could just have been tired and am now going crazy due to the fact that I can't edit my post. XD Or, I could be a wh0l3 k1nd of different crazy. XD

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:01AM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:01AM (#13366) Journal

          Crazy is the new black! *thumbs up* :)

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by kebes on Friday March 07 2014, @12:46AM

    by kebes (1505) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:46AM (#12359)
    NCommander's post is shockingly candid. But that's because we are all so accustomed to empty statements that hide what really happened; we're not used to such honesty. It is extremely refreshing to read such honesty; and bodes well for continued transparency.

    With that in mind, I would like to point something out about NCommander's post. (It's likely that he's already thought about this, so I suppose I'm addressing the community at large.) And let me be clear that I am thrilled with what SN has accomplished so far, inspired by NCommander's post, and hopeful that we as a community will build this site into something even greater. So I hope this is taken as it is intended: constructive commentary for the future, and NOT a criticism/judgement of past events (which I don't claim to fully understand, in any case)...

    In NCommander's post, he notes that he ruffled some feathers during the early days by taking charge and simply setting up Linodes to run the site. It sounds like this was the right call on a technical level: what was needed was a working site, and he took charge of implementing it. Later on, he notes that he and others were dismayed by the fact that certain decisions were being made without being consulted or even warned. This was understandably frustrating.

    Hopefully the connection I'm trying to draw is clear. These events highlight both sides of the coin: on the one hand making unilateral decisions because it needed to be done; on the other hand being dismayed by the unilateral decisions of others. I think it's important to reflect on this. There is no 'right answer', of course. A successful project requires a mixture of leadership and even benevolent dictatorship, along with community input and consensus. Finding that balance is never easy. (The evident focus on openness and communication bodes well.)

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is easy, when one is in charge (or when one feels they are right), to ignore dissenting opinions as incorrect or a waste of time. And it is easy as a spectator to decision-making to assume that decisions are dumb or made for the wrong reasons. So I would caution all SN staff and all SN community members to be careful. We should all voice our opinions, and be open to having our opinion changed. But we must also accept that at the end of the day a single decision must be made.
    • (Score: 1) by clone141166 on Friday March 07 2014, @01:08AM

      by clone141166 (59) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:08AM (#12368)

      This is a very good point. I think there is always going to be a feeling of disappointment and perhaps even oppression when you are in the losing minority of a consensus decision.

      I think it is important to try to provide multiple paths/options where possible rather than only choosing the majority opinion. ie. Provide an option to let users choose the colour of the site rather than forcing everyone to the colour chosen by the majority. In a lot of cases this just isn't possible though (ie. the name of the site). But it can help to placate those feelings if minority opinions are also catered to on occasion [where feasible].

      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @07:39AM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @07:39AM (#12538) Homepage Journal

        Incidentally, that's more or less what we did on the OS decision. We split the difference. Boxes running slashcode will remain Ubuntu for the time being. Everything else will be CentOS. At some point, we would LIKE to get on a unified system, but this is working well enough for now.

        --
        Still always moving
    • (Score: 1) by threedigits on Friday March 07 2014, @09:26AM

      by threedigits (607) on Friday March 07 2014, @09:26AM (#12570)

      A successful project requires a mixture of leadership and even benevolent dictatorship, along with community input and consensus. Finding that balance is never easy.

      If experience in Open Source serves any good, the balance is easy: dictatorship is what's needed when the project is small in both scope and community around it.

      Once the community becomes big enough that the project can survive without the dictator himself (usually the point of fork), consensus or representative democracy is the way to go. SoylentNews is fast approaching this point, and when reached, a decision will need to be made: does he want the site to be run like Linux or Debian? If the "It's people!" is more than a meme, the later is what it's going to happen, and a Constitution and all the other stuff needs to be put in place.

      A way to allow different interests and styles to be applied without breaking the system (like in democratic systems) is the only thing that can prevent breakup or collapse.

      I'm thrilled of the opportunity of this becoming the first community-ruled news site. Very interesting times ahead.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:31PM (#12640)

        "If experience in Open Source serves any good, the balance is easy: dictatorship is what's needed when the project is small in both scope and community around it.

        Once the community becomes big enough that the project can survive without the dictator himself (usually the point of fork), consensus or representative democracy is the way to go. "

         

        So you're saying Linus doesn't rule over the Linux kernel with an iron fist in the biggest open source project there is?

        (posting as AC due to previous moderation)

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @06:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @06:16PM (#12830)

          Linux core devs have learned not to get butthurt when Linus makes an executive decision that goes against their wishes (or even against consensus).

          Such butthurt is rare enough that it makes the news when it happens - like Con Kolivas dropping out after his scheduler was rejected.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by kebes on Friday March 07 2014, @12:59AM

    by kebes (1505) on Friday March 07 2014, @12:59AM (#12363)
    NCommander, you say that you were not so satisfied with the answers [soylentnews.org] given to the community questions [soylentnews.org].

    I suspect that many of us are wondering about those exact questions, in light of this change in leadership. So perhaps you could author a post that answers those same questions, but from the point of view of your vision for the site?

    We all appreciate that you must be overwhelmed by the handover and all the new work required to set up a new organizational structure. So of course there's no need to answer right away. (I'm sure you also need some time to ponder adequate replies.) But I believe much of the community would be interested to hear your thoughts...
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @03:37AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @03:37AM (#12459) Homepage Journal

      I've been debating what to do about that. As of right now, John's answers are not binding to myself, and I think I rather wait until I've finished writing the mission statement and guiding docs, then reopen the floor then rehash the questions asked.

      I'm not sold either way as of yet.

      --
      Still always moving
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:00AM (#12364)

    A lot of your management and committee issues could be solved by following a co-operative model. I suggested it in the wiki at the origination of this site. I am curious if it was considered seriously. I don't have any financial gain by suggesting this model, but I do strongly believe that you would be able to get support from people in the co-operative community to set up an appropriate governance structure for your organization if you look into this. I guarantee it's not hard.

    But whatever, they don't teach it in school so it must not be legit :P Ho-ray unbridled capitalism and private enterprise! We're all competent managers!

    • (Score: 1) by jasperhw on Friday March 07 2014, @01:37AM

      by jasperhw (3359) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:37AM (#12379)

      Any chance you can toss out an elevator pitch for it? I'm sure many others are like myself and don't have a clue what that model looks like.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Barrabas on Friday March 07 2014, @03:06AM

      by Barrabas (22) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:06AM (#12443) Journal

      I had been researching financial/business models in my copious spare time. Additionally, I was trying to connect with a law office who could answer questions.

      The co-op model was one of two solutions that looked promising, the other one being governance board (governors elected by the community).

      Most people aren't interested in all the details, which is why I established the overlord system. The overlords all agreed to run by community consensus, only making a decision when there was split vote. People could "join" groups of interest to them and have a say in how that aspect was run without having to wade through the decisions in other groups.

      Overall and governance decisions ("big" questions) would have been done by full community vote. The first such vote was going to 1) Choose a permanent name 2) Choose a business model, and 3) Choose revenue streams.

      I have extensive notes on the pros and cons for the choices of each question, and was going to post these, along with my recommendations, for public discussion and debate prior to the vote.

      Of course, gathering info and writing documents takes time, of which I had very little.

      The overall system sounds a lot like the co-op you recommended, with the extra part about different communities within the project making localized decisions.

      And yes, I got the idea from the wiki. Your suggestion did not go unnoticed :)

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @05:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @05:32AM (#12505)

        OAC here:

        Oh, I'm glad you looked into it. I hope the model continues then. But while you're probably right that most people don't care about those kind of details it might be easier for people to look into available literature then creating new concepts like overlords. Just my opinion, not saying you're incorrect.

        If I was going to elevator pitch I would say that the primary principle of co-operatives is one member - one vote. So each member has an equal share in voting for the board of directors who would make decisions on how the organization(website) was run. This board would appoint someone to manage the website (as the executive officer, she would be paid. When it was decided that there was too much work to do, she could use some of the money given her to hire omeone else, and so on, until a fully fledged organization would be built out of it). The board however is able to tell the CEO what to do, and the board is also able to hold community votes, where each member has an equal say. It creates an economic democracy. The Board would be active community members (or at least you would imagine the members would vote for the active community members based on merit). To become a member, one would need to contribute some sort of equity (in credit unions it's usually $5), this would be an annual fee to continue operations, say $5 a year. It would eliminate the problem of a company making decisions that the membership didn't like, because the community elected board would create a governance document that would state the conditions (such as a major site redesign) that would have to be put to a vote by the membership. It would also eliminate issues about executive authority. The CEO would have full authority over employees, while the board would have authority over site content, and members of board sub-committees (different subject groups).

        Co-ops can be run as for profit or not for profit, if they are run for profit, the board will try to generate revenue, and pay the members dividends based on the success of the site. In this case, it would likely result in a refund of annual membership shares. If it was non-profit, the goal would be to get enough members to pay $5 a year (maybe 30,000 visitors) so that ads would not have to be displayed.

        There is a ton of info here: http://www.coopscanada.coop/en/coopdev/StartCoop [coopscanada.coop] have give you step-by-step guides for lawyer proofing a cooperative. You could take a template and fill in the blanks.

        But it's never been done before for a tech website, I thought it would be a really cool experiment in community-based organization. Plus, it ounds like most people here would believe in the coop principles: http://ica.coop/en/what-co-op/co-operative-identit y-values-principles [ica.coop]

        I wish all you guys the best of luck! I'll be lurking around like a true AC!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 12 2014, @04:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 12 2014, @04:10PM (#92456)

          YgFvxV idivhqnignfm [idivhqnignfm.com], [url=http://bfejmqvqbpga.com/]bfejmqvqbpga[/url], [link=http://juzwxtgsmnib.com/]juzwxtgsmnib[/link], http://folacpukrnoe.com/ [folacpukrnoe.com]

  • (Score: 1) by SuperCharlie on Friday March 07 2014, @01:31AM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:31AM (#12375)

    While I recognize that this type thing goes on, and especially in infancy, projects like this are turbulent hellholes, I personally don't want to know what goes in the sausage. I just want tasty tasty sausage and to date, Soylent has delivered pretty well. Maybe some blog or other area where prying eyes and inquiring minds want to go see the meat grinding would serve better (at least for me) than front page guess what hell happened. Good luck guys..

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday March 07 2014, @01:31AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Friday March 07 2014, @01:31AM (#12376) Homepage Journal

    I've been going on for weeks with my exhortations as to why and how all of you should not only blackhole the analytics servers, but also why and how you should assist your nontechnical friends family and coworkers in doing so.

    I've also been asking complete strangers for several months whether they knew who Edward Snowden was. Most often I ask this question when a cashier asks whether I have his store loyalty card. The last time I asked that question, I grew concerned that the cashier at the Fred Meyers grocery store deli was going to call 9-1-1 to have the local constabulary YET AGAIN haul me off to the nuthouse in handcuff.

    That's a rather common problem for me. A while back eighteen Reno PD and Washoe County deputies as well as some manner of mental health practitioner turned up, handcuffed me then threw me in the nuthouse because my mom reported me as missing and endangered - "But I know right where I am, just south of downtown Reno, and no one is attacking me". I was held involuntarily for ten fucking days because I told some p-doc I planned to go camping in the desert for a few days. It turns out that in Reno, those who say they plan to go camping in the desert, later turn up dead of suicide.

    Strange, don't you think, that Beta is still running? Just the other day I got redirected to beta. I kept trying to work the "?nobeta=1" magic, only to find that it did not work. I mean it took ten solid minutes to make Beta go away.

    I could have just logged in, but when nobeta=1 didn't work, I knew DICE Holdings was up to no good.

    DICE itself is quite likely the leading resume bank and job board for high-tech. I expect Monster is bigger but they cover other kinds of employment. Craigslist is more widespread but far less effective. Craiglist is also free of charge to post job ads when they enter new markets. It's only revenue source is its job ads, all the other kinds of ads are gratis, so it establishes a beachhead in, say, Halifax Nova Scotia by just showing up, someone somehow manages to clue in both to advertising work and finding work there, eventually everyone does, then they start charging money for the ads.

    The VAST majority of paying customers of DICE.com, as well as of the high-tech trades on Monster, are the "Body Shops [warplife.com]". It's not like I should have to explain Headhunters to Soylent.

    For example a while back I got a new gmail, adjusted my resume, posted it to all the resume banks, then maybe a month later happened to look in my Spam folder.

    Imagine my delight when every single day for a solid month, some joker by the name of Mike McCarthy said he might have a gig for me and so he politely requested my Word resume.

    However none of the other "borkers" - what alt.computer.consultants.moderated used to call "borkers" before its moderators found himself on the business end of a high-powered rifle and scope - got marked as spam. Why Mike McCarthy then?

    It's because he's been politely, respectfully requesting my Word resume every single day for ten solid years. I was at first excited by Mike's personal interest in me, yet grew concerned when he kept asking me for further copies. Surely he could just refer to the one I sent him last week?

    So some googling turned up that Mike McCarthy had been spamming every coder who has ever or who ever will walk the Earth, every single day, for years.

    Clearly Mike McCarthy is a bot, whoever operated McCarthy just harvests "Word doc resumes" - never PDF, never HTML, never plain text, never OpenOffice - then passes them on to other recruiters.

    My understanding is that the "Going Rate" for placing a candidate is thirty percent of their first year's salary, payable if they are still employed after three months, as well as thirty percent of their hourly pay for, uh, "consultants", for THE ENTIRE TIME they are consulting through the agency.

    Thirty percent is what they will openly admit to, to me, however it is commonly a great deal more, such as the irate young newbie also on a.c.c.m who reported that his agency paid him thirty an hour, which at that stage of his career was a huge chunk of change, but was billing the client NINETY!

    Just browse around dice.com for no more than five minutes, and you will readily understand that you and I are not DICE Holding's customers, neither are the companies that would hire us. No, the BODY SHOPS ARE!

    What better way to turn up a lot of product for their paying customers, than to outright acquire sourceforge and slashdot?

    It would not then be any violation of their privacy policy, for DICE to datamine both sites. I tend to get modded up all the way to five on certain topics. I tend to get all the way down to -1 on other topics. What I do to myself by getting moderated both ways is to pigeonhole myself into a specific market segment.

    Experienced C++ coders who are good at image processing are quite difficult to find these days. Funny that; I'm interviewing with a high end digital photography software firm on Monday. I'm not even doing a phone interview, I'm going straight to on-site. How did they find me? Hell if I know.

    I don't know exactly that DICE is accepting pay in return for passing our resumes on to the body shops, but I do expect that DICE is using both slashdot and sourceforge to increase their "conversions". For any website, a conversion is getting what you want out of your website. For me that's a signed consulting contract with a client who found me through my website. For Mary's Club [marysclub.com] in Downtown Portland, a conversion would be a new patron who either purchases lots of liquor, or who always sits right up front in the seats that are reserved for tippers.

    (I'm on the way there now. I don't drink much so I tip every dance.)

    But how to monetize the two sites directly? They are quite clearly "Cost Centers", and significantly so. Corporate Bean Counters are quite heavily into search-and-destroy missions for cost centers; the only way a Cost Center can survive is to find some way to monetize it directly in such a way that someone who is utterly incapable of enabling "Hello World" not to BSOD his box to quite clearly understand that it is no longer a cost center.

    This Apple Computer laid off four thousand of my coworkers both times I work there. I expect those layoffs were due, in large part, to the fact that it was at one time phenomenally expensive to be a third-party Apple developer. Now it is free-as-in-beer to be a Mac OS X or Safari developer, with an "Apple Tax" of $99.00 per year not so much to be an iOS Developer, but to get the cert required both to install on a device as well as to post your App in the App Store.

    Apple only charges for support incidents now, a reasonable $150.00 apiece. I think there is a bulk discount. Never in my entire life have I paid for an incident; quite commonly I ask for help on a list, or I file a bug, and the Apple engineer who was slacking on the job the day he caused that bug either fixes it or personally figures out my workaround.

    This because Stevie fired all the bean counters. When I worked there in 1995-1995, Apple had 11,000 employees, now they have 90,000, I expect twice as many temps and contract coders.

    You must know how to analyze your web server logs [analog.cx]. If you do not, you have no hope whatsoever of succeeding with a business that depends on website conversions.

    Log file analysis, as well as adjusting one's site in response to the knowledge gleamed from that analysis, is a form of "data driven marketing". I know all about that from my days in direct mail at working software in the early nineties. WSI was unable to get into distribution, so they decided to burn bridges with the channel, and dropped their last dime to test just one drop of one thousand pieces. At their peak while I was there, we employed twelve people, we grossed $3M per year, and once dropped a quarter million pieces in just one day.

    At that same time, Apple was quite clearly NOT practicing data-driven marketing, because they once dropped a million pieces without testing anything. Hence all the layoffs, and near bankrupcy around 1997 and 1998.

    I expect Apple's survival after they hired Steve Jobs back was not just that he enabled them to ship NeXTStep as Mac OS X, but that Steve by then had also clued into data-driven marketing as a result of Pixar. The motion picture studios are quite heavily into that.

    I once was paid a hundred clams to attend a focus group. Some anonymous client retained a headhunter to turn up experienced C++ coders. It turned out that the client was Microsoft, something to do with a new tool to make Microsoft COM easier to deal with. I played The Devil's Advocate throughout the entire process by insisting that whatever MS did to the C++ language itself, be readily portable to BeOS, without monetary charge or any license agreement whatsoever. At the end of the group, the moderator quite cheerfully handed me a crisp, new $100.00 bill.

    You'd think DICE would have tried the beta on such a focus group? Or by now have clued into that those who get moderated to 5, or like me use a blackhole hosts file?

    Actually I am DEAD CERTAIN that DICE focus group-tested Beta, that they really DO analyze their log files, a lot more thoroughly than I do.

    And so, why does Beta persist to this day?

    The kinds of Slashbots who like to click on ads, are the kinds of Slashbots who also like beta.

    And now you know the rest of the story.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by GungnirSniper on Friday March 07 2014, @01:48AM

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:48AM (#12384) Journal

      MDC, the post is interesting but you need an editor. For those that said 'tl,dr' here's the result of the tale:

      You'd think DICE would have tried the beta on such a focus group? Or by now have clued into that those who get moderated to 5, or like me use a blackhole hosts file?

      Actually I am DEAD CERTAIN that DICE focus group-tested Beta, that they really DO analyze their log files, a lot more thoroughly than I do.

      And so, why does Beta persist to this day?

      The kinds of Slashbots who like to click on ads, are the kinds of Slashbots who also like beta.

      And now you know the rest of the story.

      It's still a mystery to me why Dice bought the site to begin with.

      • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday March 07 2014, @02:16AM

        by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Friday March 07 2014, @02:16AM (#12400) Homepage Journal

        It's just that I didn't edit that particular post.

        When I do edit, like when I spent a solid month explaining how to legally download music back when the MAFIAA was struggling to convince everyone that downloading music was always quite a serious crime, with half of that twenty-page lucidly expressed explanation being a discussion as to how to make the copyright laws all go away, it had - in that specific case - that for three years or so, that one single article average $3,500.00 per month worth of nickel-a-click AdSense, with two months peaking at five grand.

        That was quite nice. Imagine you're sick of your job, so you get to go on vacation for three solid years.

        However, many fail to understand that the only way I can pull such stunts off, is that my mental process requires that I commence my work with pure stream-of-consciousness writing.

        I could well have made your parent post go one for one hundred pages, but I'm tired and I have to catch the bus back to Salmon Creek soon.

        Actually I do plan to edit that post. I'll repost it at my own site [warplife.com] before I go catch the bus, update my Sitemap [sitemaps.com] so the search engines can puzzle over it for a little while. By the time DICE Holding's bean counters turn it up at Bing - or, perhaps, Baidu - it will be meticulously edited, half it's present length and far, far more compelling to the reader.

        After I get it all edited down, I'll submit it here at Soylentnews.

        I've submitted to stories so far, but both were rejected. The first was pure stream of consciousness, it really wasn't that great. The second, Automotive Touchscreens Maximize Shareholder Value [warplife.com], while it could be improved upon, I expect that Soylents editors just didn't get the joke. Perhaps they thought I was astroturfing for Apple or Volvo.

        I expect your parent posted will get, shall we say, "Soylentiled".

        I clued into a new marketing strategy, also what I expect will be quite a form of strictly ethical search engine optimization:

        It happens that the street addresses - NOT post office boxes - of the board of director members as well as the "Agent for Service of Process" of most corporations are readily available online. I'm not dead certain, but I understand Nevada is the one exception in the US. That's why so many US corporations are actually incorporated in places like the Cayman Islands.

        My upcoming press release [warplife.com] is quite carefully written and edited specifically to totally decimate the likes of Kelly IT Services, Manpower Professional, Collabera, and Oxford Global Resources, each for their own special reasons, having specifically to do with that they fucked some someone who knows how to defend himself, not by the sword, not by the pen, but by the computer keyboard and the World Wide Web.

        Go look up "Michael David Crawford" on YouTube. You will find the end-product of my racing at ninety miles per hour from San Jose to Mountain View so I could be interviewed live on CNN by Rick Sanchez, a few hours after Joe Stack burned his home to the ground, thereby leaving his wife and children homeless, then crashed his civil aviation craft into the Austin IRS building, burning it to the ground as well, and taking the life of a man with six children.

        Joseph Andrew Stack did that because he could not get the legislation behind Internal Revenue Service Section 1706 repealed. Coders like to vote, but we don't like to organize.

        A CNN Senior Producer turned up my own essay on IRS Section 1706. It turns out that, at the time, my essay about 1706 was the only such that could be found online, so that same senior producer dropped me a dime to ask if I'd like to explain Joe's Kamikaze stunt to the waiting world.

        I later did a taped local TV interview, was requested to do another but then shut off my cell as I had some work to deliver to Sony Ericsson.

        It's been two weeks without sleep now, in preparation for that press release.

        I'm not dead certain, but it might be a good time to get out of the stocks of the above mentioned body shops, as well as that of whoever the parent company of The Adecco Group might be, or if you are a sophisticated investor, to sell them short.

        I know how to make them go away, and I know all about direct mail, so shortly before I actually issue that press release, I'm going to do a "drop" to all of the boards of directors of every incorporated body shop in the English-speaking world.

    • (Score: 2) by gishzida on Friday March 07 2014, @03:57AM

      by gishzida (2870) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:57AM (#12470) Journal

      Oh my God!!! I'm having a USENET flash back... Bill Palmer is that You? Is this the shell of the once Self-Proclaimed Great Flame Giant? You moved from Huntington Beach to Portland?

      Oy Gevalt iz mir! I don't wanna hear the rest of this spiel... I'll end up De-fameing you like I did all those years ago in alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo... I still think I didn't de-fame you... I think it sorta fell off of its own accord... Maybe it wasn't wrapped too tight.

      I've done my job of comic relief now let's talk about something less serious.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by jm007 on Friday March 07 2014, @07:29AM

      by jm007 (2827) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:29AM (#12533)

      This is the most informative, interesting, funny, insightful, offtopic and scary thing I've read in quite some time.

      Thank you, sir.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:51AM (#12388)

    Man I hate being so busy. Too much work from all directions.

    Were it not the case I would write about how NCommander is now the boss. How he "commands" his fresh subordinates in his ready room, with the moves he learned back when he was a fireman etc orgy etc, but unfortunately there's no time.

  • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Friday March 07 2014, @01:53AM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:53AM (#12391)

    Ncommander, Thank you. That was refreshing and needed. I just ask that you and the staff of S/N keep up this approach when needed. Most times I am happy slurping up new items and commenting when I can, but when the system is strained and about to change then honesty sure feels a lot better then executive speak.

    As to the name, why change? It has been soylentnews for a month now? Kind of defacto at this point. Its a good name.

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by mattie_p on Friday March 07 2014, @01:56AM

      by mattie_p (13) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:56AM (#12393) Journal

      We promised that the new name would be a community thing. The SoylentNews name, while attractive to many, was chosen by a single individual, Barrabas, who has left the leadership team. But even he promised there would be a community selection. We're working out the details of that now.

      • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Friday March 07 2014, @03:05AM

        by bucc5062 (699) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:05AM (#12442)

        Ah, a rose by any other name stills as sweet. As long as the order is sweet, I guess I can handle a name change if it occurs. One day I may set up a dev VM and see what all the fuss is about. If I could make replying easier, that would be my desire.

        --
        The more things change, the more they look the same
        • (Score: 1) by soylentsandor on Saturday March 08 2014, @12:22PM

          by soylentsandor (309) on Saturday March 08 2014, @12:22PM (#13165)

          As long as the order is sweet, I guess I can handle a name change if it occurs.

          I disagree. I've somehow become sort of attached to the current name.

      • (Score: 2) by regift_of_the_gods on Friday March 07 2014, @03:38AM

        by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:38AM (#12460)

        The SoylentNews name, while attractive to many, was chosen by a single individual, Barrabas, who has left the leadership team.

        I didn't like the name at first. But it grows on you; it's understated yet distinctive, with no whiff of marketing input or chest pounding. Kinda like Newegg.

      • (Score: 3) by LaminatorX on Friday March 07 2014, @07:17AM

        by LaminatorX (14) <{laminatorx} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday March 07 2014, @07:17AM (#12531)

        I seem to recall that it was Poutine's suggestion. Am I remembering that right?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:17PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @01:17PM (#12633)

          Kill it now. With fire. From space.
          No, not SN

  • (Score: 1) by therealjz on Friday March 07 2014, @01:57AM

    by therealjz (1054) on Friday March 07 2014, @01:57AM (#12394)

    Thanks again to all who are making this site happen. A site run by nerds for nerds can fail, but will always be reborn. I hope that the current leadership can make it work, and if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask for the help you need. We will make it happen.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by NCommander on Friday March 07 2014, @02:04AM

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 07 2014, @02:04AM (#12395) Homepage Journal

    John has posted some of the emails and IRC transcripts that went on leading up to this. As my main reason for sitting on these was that he wasn't here to defend himself (and IMHO, to protect him), in the interests in full disclosure, I've posted the full staff log, and what I deemed the nuclear letter. As full context is required, I'm working to scrounge out the rest of the information from other sources, and will build a full record of this. If any staff has addition emails, or stuff they feel that should be posted, please contact me immediately.

    I'm not pleased to have to had done this, but the truth is ultimately what matters, and the community will have to judge all of us for our actions to this point.

    --
    Still always moving
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Barrabas on Friday March 07 2014, @02:40AM

      by Barrabas (22) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:40AM (#12422) Journal

      Michael - I've got a lot of E-mails, and certainly all the ones between you and me. Let me know what you need - if I've got them, you'll get copies.

      John

      P.S. - Thanks for trying to protect me, but the logs had already been posted by someone. Good luck on the new venture, I look forward to reading your vision statement.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Friday March 07 2014, @03:17AM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:17AM (#12451)

      "and the community will have to judge all of us for our actions to this point".

      Just a thought. Obviously there has been a lot of emotion (and drama) in the past short period of time. John's public resignation, your response and data dump in one way put all the dirty laundry out there for all to see. While I appreciate the candor, there comes a point where the drama ends and the business of getting the job done continues.

      At the rate new stories are submitted this may (or will) be old news within a few days. TL;DR ... john's out, Micheal's in, the Rose continues. The general public wont remember much of this soon, but they will note whether S/N continues to be the best alternative to /. and note whether it improves. Let us not lose that focus. I love a good General Hospital show, but only for a moment. Let's get back to work.
         

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
  • (Score: 1) by ilPapa on Friday March 07 2014, @02:26AM

    by ilPapa (2366) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 07 2014, @02:26AM (#12409) Journal

    Just tell me where I can donate. Or subscribe. This money's burning a hole in my pocket.

    Oh, and NCommander: Better you than me, thanks.

    --
    You are still welcome on my lawn.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by chebucto on Friday March 07 2014, @02:31AM

    by chebucto (36) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:31AM (#12413) Journal

    It's bad manners, I know, but I'd like to get an idea of how much this site is costing.

    A Linode 2048 seems to cost [linode.com] $40/month and gets you 4TB of upload. I'm assuming the upload limit is in per-month terms.

    Looking at the stats [soylentnews.org] from the week ending Feb 27, the whole site saw around 12GB of upload.

    Am I right in concluding that the the live site costs just $40/month?

    If so it seems like we could easily run the site off of donations.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Barrabas on Friday March 07 2014, @02:45AM

      by Barrabas (22) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:45AM (#12429) Journal

      A full account of expenses to date is on the wiki:

      http://wiki.soylentnews.org/wiki/index.php/Expense s [soylentnews.org]

      (One of 5 documents for my vision statement - the only one I managed to complete before the shakedown.)

      The short version is: We're paid up for the first full year of service.

      If we don't hire anyone, monthly bandwidth fees are estimated to be under $300/mo. Absolute maximum bandwidth fees (assuming we're wildly popular - to the level of MSNBC) is something like $1400/mo.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by SuperCharlie on Friday March 07 2014, @03:34AM

      by SuperCharlie (2939) on Friday March 07 2014, @03:34AM (#12458)

      Hosting is probably the cheapest of the costs once something like this gets rolling. Legal and tax advisor costs as well as labor costs are ones that come to mind first. Ive found that if you depend on free help too long, you end up with what you pay for. If you dont cover your legal and tax issues, you end up much worse.

    • (Score: 1) by lajos on Friday March 07 2014, @05:47PM

      by lajos (528) on Friday March 07 2014, @05:47PM (#12815)

      Why would anyone need to purchase a Sony MP3 player for $75 to start a website?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by goodie on Friday March 07 2014, @02:51AM

    by goodie (1877) on Friday March 07 2014, @02:51AM (#12433) Journal

    Well, not sure what to make of all this. Like they say, there's always two (or more) versions of the truth so I guess everybody will make their mind as to what their own version is.

    What matters now is that SN can still move forward and that these things were probably inevitable IMHO if anything just from the sheer fatigue of working yourselves out for so long. At the very least, thanks to all involved for managing to keep SN running and not getting into an intestine war that would cost SN its loyal base.

    I had emailed NCommander about this earlier today actually but heck, I'll just post it here as well :).
    I intend to follow (and post) on SN because I am fascinated by the spontaneous emergence of SN and its quick buildup, from the technical stuff to the people involved in its development and the community rallying around it. I am a social studies PhD student (in IT, where we study the intersection between humans and technology, you can boo me go ahead) and I think that even though we don't know what the future will hold for SN, following its evolution is rather fascinating. By that I mean its timeline, its evolving organization but also the reaction of the community to the trajectory it takes along with the influence it will have on its trajectory.

    It's going to be a side research project of mine over the next few months. I feel it's a good way to mix pleasure with work in this case ;). Who knows, I may just be starting to account for the chronicles of the most successful site on the comeback of the sane Internet.

    Cheers to all involved and keep things rolling, it's just a hurdle SN has to live through (although I'm sorry it created such friction between people at times).

  • (Score: 1) by Potato Battery on Friday March 07 2014, @04:12AM

    by Potato Battery (3535) on Friday March 07 2014, @04:12AM (#12478)

    I understand why you can't take donations yet, but is there anything nice I could do to show my gratitude to the volunteers? Like a java gift card or something? So frustrating to hear they are feeling kind of demoralized while seeing multiple people wishing they could offer some tangible appreciation. If it wasn't a distributed group, I'd think about sending in a pizza or flowers or something.

    Thanks, and hang in there--hope the site can get as fun for the creators as it is for this reader really soon.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by LaminatorX on Friday March 07 2014, @07:13AM

      by LaminatorX (14) <{laminatorx} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday March 07 2014, @07:13AM (#12528)

      Right now, the best thing you can do to make this site a success is to submit interesting stories and leave great comments. That's our food and drink. :)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @04:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @04:54AM (#12491)

    I spent a better part of an hour skimming through IRC log. That bit about org chart was hilarious.

    Barrabas: thanks for the work you put in. Best of luck in your other endeavors.

    NCommander: best wishes in your new role. Hope you keep us abreast of the progress in internal working of this site.

  • (Score: 1) by isostatic on Friday March 07 2014, @07:05AM

    by isostatic (365) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:05AM (#12524) Journal

    I get enough of this politics crap at work!

  • (Score: 1) by fx_68 on Friday March 07 2014, @07:16AM

    by fx_68 (2719) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:16AM (#12530) Homepage
    Hey guys, Its a work in progress, I for one am here to stay I will contribute when I can. I enjoy the community and the SN. Or what ever we call it. Stay strong don't let this burn you out. Ask for help!
    --
    Some where on the black vein highways of America......
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by timbim on Friday March 07 2014, @07:31AM

    by timbim (907) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:31AM (#12534)

    I ate yogurt with a fork today.

    • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:31AM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 09 2014, @12:31AM (#13380) Journal

      Your connoisseur status has been verified and approved :)

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 1) by johnck on Friday March 07 2014, @07:56AM

    by johnck (1560) on Friday March 07 2014, @07:56AM (#12540)

    Frankly, I don't have a lot of patience for so-called management types in highly technical endeavors that aren't just as involved as the rest of the team. Anyone can rent a couple of VPSs, getting Slash up and running is a ritualistic gauntlet of unholy demon fire and keeping great stories coming through even more so.

    I only ever visit /. now out of muscle memory. This site is a great replacement, there's not nearly as much flippant absurd commenters and the site in general is just a joy to visit.

    Kudos to everyone's hard work!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by nobbis on Friday March 07 2014, @08:20AM

    by nobbis (62) on Friday March 07 2014, @08:20AM (#12548) Homepage Journal
    I can't say I'm impressed by what has happened but we do need to move on. The problems facing the site currently are not technical, lets not get fixated on choice of OS or where the IRC channel lives, this is a waste of effort.

    I see the biggest problem is attracting new people to the site and getting their contributions.This site will live or die on the quality of its discussions, currently the amount of comments per story is rather low ( I would welcome stats on this if anyone has them ). The number of users is just under 4K, the growth rate has slowed, we need to get more people here and more quality contributions.

    Solving these problems will be more valuable to us now than complaining about technical decisions that have already been made. Yes we need transparency, but we also need to move on and improve the site.

    Can I suggest that whoever runs the site does not also head up any team, not only will there be too much work, but we need someone who can step back and take a balanced view of issues, ideally someone with a managerial rather than technical skillset.

    --
    It's easy to look up when your mind's in the gutter
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @09:01AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @09:01AM (#12560)

    I don't want to belittle the drama at all and if there were feelings of gloom, I'm sorry to hear that. And I do realize that the stakes are high. I don't want to see another Winklevoss/Failbook type of scenario. Such a launch must be by definition a hectic dirty scramble. Everybody is tired and people make mistakes.

    However, the site is growing nicely. We've got the cream of the cream from slashdork. The peons (me) are happy.

    I'd like you all behind the scenes (staff or so) take it easy. This might cost you some opportunities but it will ensure this site will have longevity. There is no rush. At least from this side of the fence ("the audience" lol).

    I hope we can all be friends. I believe we have so much more in common than what we disagree upon. We (oh, the audacity of saying we instead of you) have accomplished so much.

    So, take a deep breath and bask in the glory of your creation. Sit back and take the day off. Enjoy life and your significant other or whatever.

    We've made it.

  • (Score: 1) by tftp on Friday March 07 2014, @09:24AM

    by tftp (806) on Friday March 07 2014, @09:24AM (#12569) Homepage

    Thank you for posting this. I read the text, but I haven't looked into the email/chat; those are private things that I have no plans to read.

    This is an excellent story about how several good programmers had to cooperate, and what happened to them. It's not unusual that such ventures fail. Programmers, like wizards, are not social beings. We work with machines; needs, feelings and interests of [other] human beings are often alien to a programmer. "Flat food 365.25 days per year is just fine."

    As result, everyone involved got a lesson in management - and they now know, firsthand, how such things work. I went through a far more gentle introduction to management, by being given one or two guinea pigs (company-bound H1Bs) to manage, and eventually I learned to talk to the people without deeply offending them in twelve sentences out of every ten (not meaning to do it even once!) Still, I am not a professional manager, and it would be foolish to ask me to manage a team. However once a programmer gets senior enough he cannot realize his skills and experience through his own set of hands and eyes anymore; he needs to have coders to code for him.

    This experience at SN should be educational; nothing more and nothing less. Though "mistakes were made," those were honest mistakes of inexperienced, novice operators. In a year or two this will be remembered just as a silly comedy of errors. Do not worry - nothing irreversible has been done. Often there is only one way to move forward - through the difficult terrain, learning the rules as you go. And that's what you have done. Thank you for the effort!

  • (Score: 1) by james_covalent_bond on Friday March 07 2014, @09:39AM

    by james_covalent_bond (736) on Friday March 07 2014, @09:39AM (#12573)

    tl, got lost after 1/3. If you dared to read the whole text, please make us happy with a car analogy!

    • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Sunday March 09 2014, @01:25AM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 09 2014, @01:25AM (#13394) Journal

      Musical chairs in an old junked Honda Accord that is being fully restored while under speed and the steering wheel is twisted off because everyone is wearing headphones filled with pink noise [wikipedia.org] from the broken radios (multiple!) while shouting to communicate¹ and there was a Y junction with a $junk_food_outlet at both ends and everyone desperately needed the restroom.

      The car ride still makes the Guinness World Book of Records for setting the fastest land speed record although the two main drivers both got hospitalized in different places of $China at different but possibly overlapping segments of the journey.

      Racing driver #1 is catapulted with musical chair #0 (the last one, no musical chairs left) and decides to invent an AI with blackjack and hookers as the parachute deploys while racing driver #2 is hanging on to the re-welded steering wheel while kicking the radios with both feet.

      ¹ I forgot to mention the car is filled with approximately three thousand cats. They were singing a musical chairs tune named "9999 Favorite Trivial Bugs on the Wall" and while the chairs are gone they haven't stopped singing (it's an easy and merry song that smells of catnip).

      While the racing track is infinite it was an epic start and gold medals are in the post to all involved.

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07 2014, @12:44PM (#12621)

    Can we have a listing of the staff positions and hierarchy inc number of positions? No names. Just the positions in the hierarchy.

    eg:

    + His royal highness overlord of all arch soylent master
        + Dev Overload
            - Perl Programmer
            - Perl Programmer
            - Perl Programmer
            - Perl Programmer
            + Systems programmer (linux)
        + Editor Overload
            - Editor
            - Editor
            - Editor
            - Editor astronomy
        + Wiki Overlord
            - Wiki BCat
            - Wiki Op
            - Wiki Dev
        + Forums Overload
            - Forum Master
            - Forum Moderator ... or something like it?
    The wiki who's who is a good start.. http://wiki.soylentnews.org/wiki/index.php/WhosWho [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1) by goodie on Friday March 07 2014, @04:17PM

      by goodie (1877) on Friday March 07 2014, @04:17PM (#12752) Journal

      Agreed. And not only that, we need to know what's needed so that people can come forward. If you already got anough Perl hackers on board but need people on the style team, we need to know.

  • (Score: 1) by GlennC on Friday March 07 2014, @06:11PM

    by GlennC (3656) on Friday March 07 2014, @06:11PM (#12829)

    I'd like to thank you for your efforts. I just discovered Soylent News this past week, and created an account a couple of days ago. I have the same user name at The Other Site.

    There's always going to be a lot of noise and kerfluffle when starting a new organization. That you're able to continue to make progress despite these setbacks shows how well the team is doing.

    --
    Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
  • (Score: 2) by MrGuy on Friday March 07 2014, @11:18PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday March 07 2014, @11:18PM (#12989)

    The thing that makes me incredibly sympathetic to this is that there was a really specific goal and launch date in mind - to have a functional alternative that corresponded to the Slashcott. That was (apparently) incredibly ambitious, and I know I was one of the chorus on IRC and the forums saying "Ugh, what's taking so long?" when the start of the slashcott came and there was no site. When the formal slashcott ended and there was no site.

    Ladies and gentlemen, these are volunteers who threw themselves at an unknown problem with the pressure of a looming deadline they were struggling to make feasible. And quite a lot of that pressure came from the community who desperately wanted the new home. We didn't care exactly how it happened. Other people were working on it. We saw the promise. We wanted it. We were impatient and restless.

    I know nobody put a gun to anyone on staff's head. You all volunteered, and we're grateful to you for it. But I just want to recognize that not all the pressure you all felt was self-imposed. I'm sorry it burned or almost burned so many of you out. We get to reap the benefits, and generally don't bear any of the cost.

    Thanks to you all, John especially, both for the guiding vision and the courageous decision to step aside.